With protests over the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala escalating, two Right-wing outfits Wednesday called for a 24-hour hartal starting midnight, PTI reported.
The outfits, ‘Antharashtriya Hindu Parishad’ led by former Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) chief Pravin Togadia and the ‘Sabarimala Samrakshana Samithi’, have been protesting the CPI(M)-led LDF government’s decision to implement the top court’s verdict permitting women of all age groups to enter the hill shrine of Lord Ayappa.
The Kerala government has beefed up the security across the state. Special security arrangements and patrolling have been put in place in various locations including Pamba, Nilackal, Erumeli and Vandiperiyar en route to the Sabarimala temple, located in the central district of Pathanamthitta.
DGP Lonknath Behera told PTI that an additional 700 police personnel had already been deployed in Pamba and Nilackal, the base camps of Sabarimala pilgrimage, to ensure the safety of devotees proceeding to the temple.
“At least 700 armed police personnel, 100 of them women, are already placed in various locations. A team of commandos will also be deployed soon,” PTI quoted him as saying. He also said that anyone who blocks vehicles in the name of hartal would be severely dealt with.
The day witnessed tense moments at Pamba and Nilackal at the foothill as protesters opposing the Supreme Court order turned violent and clashed with police, which resulted in baton-charge by the latter. Stones were pelted at police vehicles and buses.
Several persons including an old woman was injured in the stone-pelting and connected incidents.