After the Hindu outfits called for a state-wide hartal in protest of entry of two women into the Sabarimala hill shrine in Kerala, the traders and tourism firms here Wednesday vowed to boycott the bandh citing their financial losses. In December last year too, when the BJP called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in Kerala protesting the suicide of a man over the Sabarimala agitation, traders’ organisations and firms operating in the tourism sector had cried foul.
More than three months after the Supreme Court allowed women of menstruating age to enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, two women in their 40s entered the shrine Wednesday. The women, identified as Bindu and Kanakadurga, reached inside the sanctum sanctorum early morning with help of the police who were in mufti.
A recording of their entry into the shrine has been doing rounds on WhatsApp. According to the video footage, the women have not climbed the sacred 18 steps used by pilgrims who take the 41-day vow and carry the sacred offering of ‘irumudikettu‘. They have used a side entrance, used by VIPs and the media, which gets them directly in front of the sopanam and into the sanctum of the temple. Protests erupted at different places in Kerala, mainly under the aegis of the RSS-backed Sabarimala Karma Samithi, against what they term the ‘violation of temple customs and traditions.’ The BJP organised protest marches to the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram and road blockades in Kollam and Ernakulam. The Congress has also vowed to organise agitations throughout the state.