Sabarimala: Controversy Erupts Over Kerala Govt’s Affidavit in SC

Two women who were on their way to the Sabarimala temple were stopped by protesters at Neelimala in Kerala on Wednesday, 16 January.

On 8 January, the Kerala High Court had said that the state government should be able to identify those with a ‘hidden agenda’ who intended to disrupt peace at the shrine.

(Get live updates on the Sabarimala row here.)

  • On 2 January, two women – Bindu and Kanakadurga – had entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple to offer prayers

  • The shrine was closed for “purification rituals” hours after the women entered the shrine

  • On 28 September 2018, the Supreme Court had lifted the ban on the entry of women of menstruating age (between 10-50) at the Sabarimala temple

  • Both BJP as well as Congress workers have been protesting against the verdict

Cong, BJP Hit out at CPI(M)-Led LDF Govt for 'Lying in the Affidavit'

Strongly reacting to the CPI(M)-led LDF government’s submission of an affidavit in the apex court, the main opposition Congress and the BJP hit out at the state government, alleging it was lying in the affidavit, PTI reported.

BJP state President P S Sreedharan Pillai termed the government's submission as "the biggest lie of the century."

"In case if anyone had visited the temple, they should have come openly. Everything should have been done in a transparent manner. The CPI(M) and the government had failed in the Sabarimala issue and this was an attempt to hide it. They are fooling people," Pillai told PTI.

The Congress also trained its guns on the LDF government, saying the state administration had became "a laughing stock after submitting erroneous and misguiding affidavit."

"This submission of wrong affidavit has brought shame to the state. The Chief Minister was responsible for this," PTI quoted KPCC President Mullappally Ramachandran as saying.

Controversy Erupts over Kerala Govt's Affidavit in Supreme Court

Controversy erupted in Kerala after the CPI(M)-led LDF government on Friday, 18 January, submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court claiming 51 women in menstrual age entered the Sabarimala temple during the ongoing annual pilgrimage season.

The BJP, the Sabarimala Karma Samiti and the Pandalam royal family, associated with the Lord Ayyappa temple, came down heavily on the state government saying there were discrepancies in the age of the women devotees mentioned in the affidavit.

“7,564 women had registered online for visiting the hill-top shrine. As per the virtual 'queue' facility reports, 51 women between the age group of 10-50 have visited the temple. However, we don't know whether all of them have managed to reach the Sannidhanam (temple complex) and offered prayers or not," news agency PTI quoted Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran as saying in Thiruvananthapuram.

Two Women Stopped by Protesters at Neelimala

Two women below the age of 50, Reshma Nishanth and Shanila Satheesh, who attempted to make the trek to Sabarimala temple early Wednesday morning, were stopped by protesters at the hill. Nisha and Shanila were among the three women who organised the press conference in Kochi in November 2018, to express their wish to visit the Sabarimala temple.

Reshma and Shanila reached Neelimala along with seven other men in their team. However, around 4.30 am, they were stopped by protesters. Due to the growing protests, they were forced to stop their trek despite heavy police protection. After almost 3 to 4 hours of protests, the two women and others were taken to the Pamba police control room. As the duo were being escorted in the police vehicles, a few protesters were seen running behind the vehicle, heckling and booing at them.


Facebook Collective Claims Dalit Activist Offered Prayers at Sabarimala

A Facebook collective called ‘Navothana Keralam Sabarimalayilekku’, which when translated reads as ‘Renaissance Kerala towards Sabarimala’, which says it supports the entry of women of all ages into the shrine, has released videos reportedly showing a 36-year-old Dalit activist named Manju offering prayers at the temple on Tuesday, 8 January, The Indian Express reported.

The videos reportedly show Manju reaching the shrine at about 7.30 am on Tuesday morning.

State Govt Should Identify Those with 'Hidden Agenda': Kerala HC

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday, 8 January, observed that Sabarimala is meant for devotees and stated that the state government should be able to identify those with a ‘hidden agenda’ who intend to ruin the peace at the shrine.

The court added that if the government was not able to control the law and order situation at the temple, outside agencies too could be brought in for help, The News Minute reported.

Elephant Tramples Sabarimala Pilgrim to Death

A Sabarimala pilgrim was trampled to death by a wild elephant in a forest area, 60 km from Kottayam on Wednesday, 9 January, police said.

Paramasivam, 35, from Salem in Tamil Nadu was attacked by the jumbo as he along with his seven-year-old son and 13 others, were going to the Lord Ayyappa shrine through the forest route from Erumely to Pamba at around 1 am.

While others managed to flee the spot, Paramasivam, who was said to be carrying his son on his shoulder, could not. His son managed to escape.

Six from Tamil Nadu, on Way to Vavar Mosque, Held Palakkad

Six people, including three women, who wanted to visit the famed Vavar mosque at Erumeli near the Sabarimala temple, have been arrested on charges of trying to create animosity between religious groups, police said on Tuesday, reported PTI.

All the six, said to be members of the Hindu Makkal Katchi, hail from Tamil Nadu and wanted to visit the vavar mosque, which is related to the Sabarimala pilgrimage, they said.

Daughter of Woman Who Tried to Enter Sabarimala Denied School Admission

On 22 October, Bindu Thankam Kalyani tried to enter Sabarimala. She was unsuccessful, as protesters surrounded her and chased her. Ever since, the Dalit activist has had to face constant harassment, and was even evicted from her rented house.

Now, Bindu’s 11-year-old daughter has been denied admission in a school after protests outside the said institution.

On Monday Bindu’s daughter was denied admission at Vidya Vanam Higher Secondary School at Anaikatti in Tamil Nadu, owing to the protests from local residents. Vidya Vanam – which is on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border – had agreed to give her admission earlier, but refused on Monday.

Journalist Wears Black Veil to Protest at BJP Press Conference

Photojournalist Jayamohan Thampy, who was beaten up by a right-wing hartal supporter on Thursday, 3 January in Kollam, tied a black cloth over his mouth at a press conference held by BJP general secretary K Surendran on Monday, 7 January, The News Minute reported.

Kerala High Court Bans Flash Hartals

In the backdrop of violence over Sabarimala temple, he Kerala High Court on Monday passed an order banning flash hartals, The News Minute reported.

The Court has held that any group that wishes to call for a hartal should declare it seven days prior and any citizen can approach the court, challenging the hartal during the seven-day notice period.

The order was passed by a division bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice AK Jayasankaran Nambiar on a Public Interest Litigation(PIL) filed by the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

10 Devotees Killed in Road Accident

Ten residents of Andhra Pradesh were killed in a road accident in Tamil Nadu, while returning after worshiping Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala, The News Minute reported. The accident took place on the Thirumayam bypass road in Pudukottai district.

14 devotees from Andhra Pradesh were travelling in a white van on the bypass road when a container lorry from the opposite direction, allegedly came into the wrong side of the road and smashed into the vehicle. Reports state that seven devotees died on the spot while three others succumbed to their injuries at the Pudukottai government hospital.

10 Sabarimala Pilgrims From Telangana Killed in Road Accident in Tamil Nadu

Ten Sabarimala pilgrims from Telangana died in a road accident near Thirumayam town in Pudukottai district of central Tamil Nadu on Sunday after their vehicle collided head-on with a lorry.

Five others have sustained grievous injuries, a senior police officer told PTI, adding that some of the deceased were in their early twenties or early thirties.

"The incident happened at around 3 pm when the tempo in which the Sabarimala pilgrims were travelling from Karaikudi to Pudukottai collided with a lorry that was coming from the opposite direction," ta police officer told PTI.

No Violence Other than the One Created by RSS, BJP: Vijayan

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Sunday that he will not be cowed down by threats of "constitutional consequences" for Sabarimala violence.

Vijayan asked the BJP national leadership to instruct its cadre in Kerala to stop creating violence in the state.

"“The state has a constitutional duty to implement the Supreme Court order. There is no violence other than the ones created by the RSS, BJP and the Sangh Parivar. And now they are threatening the state with constitutional consequences.”" - Pinarayi Vijayan said in a Facebook post

The chief minister's post came on a day Union minister Smriti Irani alleged that the CPI(M)-led LDF government was arresting BJP workers for raising their voice against the state.

Cong Slams BJP for 'Instigating Violence' in Kerala

The Congress on Sunday accused the BJP of instigating violence in Kerala over the Sabarimala issue and blamed the CPI(M) government for failing to maintain law and order in the state.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also said the BJP government should bring a law that marries the rights of women of Kerala to the long-held traditions of society there.

Attacking the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala for allegedly "failing" to protect law and order in the state and the BJP for allegedly fomenting trouble, the Congress said the law was necessary to find a solution to the problem.

Over 5,700 People Arrested in Sabarimala Violence

At least 5,769 people have been arrested in connection with the Sabarimala violence across Kerala and 1,869 cases have been registered, reported PTI.

In Pathnamthitta district, where the Sabarimala temple is located, 267 cases have been registered and 677 people arrested so far.

While in Palakkad, 283 cases have been registered so far and 764 persons arrested, in Kannur district, where crude bombs were hurled at the house of Thalassery MLA AM Shamseer and BJP leader and MP V Muraleedharan, 225 cases have been booked and 394 arrested so far.

When Kerala CM Gives One-Sided Statement, It Flares up the Situation: RS Rathore

Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore told ANI, “The law and order situation in Kerala is very alarming, just 2 days ago there was an attack on the house of BJP MP V Muralidharan Ji, when the CM of Kerala gives a one-sided statement it flares up the situation.”

Over 3,000 Persons Arrested

At least 3,178 persons have been arrested in connection with the Sabarimala violence across Kerala. A total of 1,286 cases registered against 37,979 persons.

UN Encourages All to Respect the Law

In the background of a series of violent incidents in Kerala over the Sabarimala issue, the UN has said that the body encourages all to respect the rule of law.

The UN Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary General, told, “As you know, this is an issue on which the Supreme Court of India has commented. So, we will leave the matter in the hands of the rule of law authorities in India. Of course, we want all parties to respect the rule of law, and you're aware of the UN's position and its fundamental position on the rights on equal rights of all people.”

When asked by a reporter that not allowing women to enter the temple is a violation of human rights, given the Supreme Court verdict, he reiterated that the UN "obviously" encourages all to respect the laws of the country, reported Money Control.

CM Pinarayi Vijayan Slams Congress for Stand on Sabarimala

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan slammed Congress for their stand on the Sabarimala issue.

“The national leadership of Congress has objected to the stand taken by KPCC and Ramesh Chennithala. Even the attempt by UDF MPs to meet the Prime Minister seeking an ordinance on Sabarimala has been thwarted by the AICC leadership,” he said, reported The Times Of India.

“Earlier, some leaders had threatened self-immolation if women entered Sabarimala. I don’t know what they are saying now. Nobody should go to such extremes,” he added.

"They want to form a new front in state like the way they did in 1991. Congress, IUML and BJP are having an unholy nexus like the one they had earlier." - Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Chief minister to The Times Of India

Prohibitory Orders Imposed in Two Regions of Kozhikode

The Kozhikode rural police have imposed prohibitory orders in Perambra and Vadakara in Kozhikode district for five days from Friday.

This was imposed to regulate public assembly and post-hartal violence, reported The News Minute.

The prohibitory orders will restrain the political groups from organizing public gatherings and open protest programmes and thereby calming down the situation, reported The Times Of India.

Police have also banned use of placards, publicity material, display of posters.

Country Bombs Hurled at House of BJP Leader

Country bombs were hurled at the ancestral house of BJP MP C Muraleedharan at the Erinjoli area in Thalassery.

Muraleedharan’s house was attacked by unidentified men who came in a vehicle, hurled country bombs at the house and left, reported The News Minute. No one was injured.

Bombs Hurled at Houses of Left Leaders in Kerala

Violence erupted across Kerala on Friday night with bombs hurled at the house of Thalassery MLA and CPI(M) leader AN Shamseer among other places.

Unidentified persons riding a bike hurled a bomb at Shamseer's house at Madapeedikayil near Thalassery in Kannur district of northern Kerala at around 10.15 pm, police told PTI.

“This was an RSS conspiracy to instigate violence in the state. They intend to create violence and destroy the peaceful atmosphere of the state,” Shamseer told media.

The attack happened when the Left leader was attending a peace meeting organised at Thalassery after widespread violence had hit the state following the hartal declared by right-wing groups over the entry of women in Sabarimala.

Kamal Haasan Blames Right Wing for Inciting Violence

Actor-politician Kamal Haasan has squarely blamed the right-wing for "inciting" violence in Kerala after Hindu fringe groups ran riot in Kerala on Thursday over entry of two women into the Lord Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala.

"Violence has been incited by the right wing," the veteran actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam chief said.

BJP-RSS Mounted 'Surgical Strike' on Kerala: Agnivesh

Social activist Swami Agnivesh today slammed the BJP-RSS for the violent protests unleashed by it in Kerala against the entry of young women into the Sabarimala Temple and said the Sangh forces had mounted a "surgical strike" on the state.

He congratulated Bindhu and Kanakadurga, the women in their forties, who had offered prayers at the Ayyappa shrine on 2 January scripting history, saying that the duo had raised the banner for women’s liberation and empowerment for all oppressed women in the country.

Explanation Sought on 'Purification' Rituals From Chief Priest

Devaswom Board seeks an explanation within 15 days from chief priest of Sabarimala Temple for the "purification" rituals carried out after two women in their early 40's entered the temple on 2 January.

Sec 144 Imposed in Nedumangad, Valiyamala Police Station Limits

Section 144, prohibiting assembly of more than four people in an area, has been imposed in Nedumangad and Valiyamala police station limits in Thiruvananthapuram for three days.

Prohibitory Orders Imposed in Palakkad Town in Kerala

Prohibitory orders have been imposed in Palakkad town and Manjeswaram Taluk of Kasargod district in northern Kerala on late Thursday night after widespread protest erupted over the entry of two women in their menstrual age in to Sabarimala temple.

Palakkad District Collector D Balamurali issued the order for Palakkad Town after considering the reports filed by various officials including the district police chief.

"Prohibitory order has been imposed till 6 PM today after considering the tense situation prevailing in the town. We have called for an all-party meeting at 4 pm. Further decisions will be taken after that meeting," Balamurali said.

1,369 People Arrested

About 1,369 people have been arrested, 717 taken into preventive detention in connection with protest violence over the issue of entry of women into Sabarimala temple, reported ANI.

Over 800 cases were registered by Friday, 4 January, over the incidents of violence in Kerala.

Congress Wants Peace in Sabarimala: KC Venugopal in LS

Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Congress MP KC Venugopal said that his party wanted a “solution” to Sabarimala and that the government was “promoting violence” in the state, reported ANI.

Two CPI(M) Workers Arrested

Two CPI(M) workers were arrested on Friday, 4 January, under sections 302 and 307 for the death of Sabarimala Karma Samiti worker Chandran Unnithan at Pandalam, reported ANI.

Thrissur Police Arrest Three SDPI Workers

The Thrissur Police on Friday, 4 January, arrested three SDPI workers in connection with the attack on BJP workers a day earlier, reported ANI.

Did Sri Lankan Woman Enter Sabarimala? She Says No

Uncertainty prevails over whether a 46-year-old Sri Lankan woman entered the Sabarimala shrine and worshipped the deity on Thursday, 3 January. Though multiple reports quoted police sources saying that the woman did enter the shrine, she herself has denied this.

The woman, identified as Sasikala, daughter of Asok Kumaran reached Sabarimala on Thursday night with her family. The Hindu and The Times of India reported that the woman, accompanied by plain-clothed police officers, had prayed at the temple and then returned to Pamba.

Read full story here.

Around 745 People Arrested, 628 in Preventive Custody

As many as 745 persons were arrested, while 628 others had been taken into preventive custody in connection with the violent incidents on Thursday, 3 January, reported The Indian Express.

Sonia Gandhi Stops Congress MPs' Black Band Protest

After Congress MPs wore black arm bands to to Lok Sabha chamber to protest women's entry in Sabarimala, the former Congress president Sonia Gandhi asked them to not proceed with it.

Gandhi said that the party stands for "gender equality and women's rights" and told the MPs that they can conitnue their protests in Kerala as part of local politics, but it should not happen at national level, reported The Indian Express.

Section 144 Imposed in Palakkad

Section 144 imposed in Palakkad as a "volatile situation has arisen" in the municipal area "where large scale violent" activities took place.

Ayyappa Devotees Stage Demos in Hyderabad on Sabarimala Issue

Groups of devotees of Lord Ayyappa held demonstrations Thursday, 3 January, in different parts of the city in protest against the entry of two women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, as reported by news agency PTI.

Holding placards that read "Save Sabarimala", the protesting devotees took out a rally in Saidabad area here and squatted on the road.

They raised slogans against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and later also burnt his effigy.

NSS in Kerala Demands Ordinance to Protect Temple Tradition

The Nair Service Society (NSS), a caste organisation in Kerala, has urged the Central government to issue an ordinance to protect Sabarimala's traditions, according to News18.

Kerala CM Lashes out at BJP, RSS for Violence During Hartal

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Thursday, 3 January, lashed out at BJP and RSS, accusing them of unleashing violence during the hartal over the Sabarimala women's entry issue, saying it was a 'conspiracy for political gains' and would be dealt with strongly, as reported by news agency PTI.

He also said that devotees at the temple never had any issue with women visiting the shrine and all the violence that started hours after their visit was a "conspiracy for political gain by the RSS".

KSRTC Bus Services to Kerala Resumed

Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus services to Kerala have been resumed, reports ANI.

Kerala Guv Asks CM to Provide Report on Attacks

Governor P Sathasivam has asked Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to provide a report on the incidents of violence across the state on Thursday, 3 January.

The governor said he had sought an urgent law and order report from the CM on incidents of violence and destruction of private and public property in Kerala. "I appeal to all sections of people to maintain calm and peace," ANI quoted him as saying.

Over 200 Arrested For 'Attacks' During Hartal

266 persons have been arrested and 334 are in precautionary detention in connection with the attacks during hartal called by various organisations over women entry in the temple, news agency ANI reported.

Modi Reveals Communal Mindset: CPI-M

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has revealed his "communal mindset" by taking different lines on gender equality on the issues of triple talaq and women's entry into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, the CPI-M was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.

An editorial in the CPI-M journal 'People's Democracy' hailed the Women's Wall, a 1 January protest in which over 5.5 million women created a 620 km-chain from Kerala's Kasargode to Thiruvananthapuram in support of gender equality. "On the day the Women's Wall came up, Modi sought to justify the BJP-RSS stand on Sabarimala," the Communist Party of India-Marxist said.

Youth Congress Members Detained by Police in Kochi

Youth Congress members protesting outside the IG office over Sabarimala row were detained by police in Kochi on Thursday, 3 January, ANI reported.

Fresh Violence Breaks Out in Palakkad

According to The News Minute, fresh violence erupted between BJP, LDF workers and the police in Palakkad.

An incident of stone-pelting was reported when LDF workers were marching towards the BJP office in the area. Police reportedly used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Hindu Outfit Members Vandalise Kerala Bhavan in Chennai

A gang of at least eight to ten people on Wednesday, 2 January, vandalised a hotel belonging to the Kerala Tourism Department in Chennai, according to The News Minute.

The miscreants, members of Hindu Munnani, entered the premises and smashed the window panes of the building.

The police said six Hindu Munnani members were arrested on charges of criminal intimidation among other things.

AIDWA Objects to 'Purification' Ritual After Women's Entry into Temple

The All India Democratic Women's Association has expressed strong objection to the 'purification' rituals carried out by the priests after two women of menstruating age visited the Sabarimala temple, calling it "demeaning" as it projects women as "impure" and "unclean", as reported by PTI.

60 Protesters Held in Tn over Women's Entry into Sabarimala

Sixty workers of a Tamil Nadu-based fringe Hindu outfit were arrested for trying to stage a 'rail-roko' on Thursday in protest against the entry of two women of menstruating age group into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, police said, as reported by PTI.

The Hindu Makkal Katchi activists were prevented from staging the protest at a railway station in Coimbatore, the police said.

Fifteen members of the Bharatiya Janata Party lawyers' wing here burnt a portrait of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. They raised slogans against him for failing to maintain the shrine's "sanctity".

I Am Not Afraid of BJP, Says Woman Journalist A Day After Assault

Shajila Ali Fathima, a journalist with Kairali TV, had said on Wednesday, 2 January, that she was not afraid of the BJP, reported by Newslaundry. She said, "I will continue to cover BJP demonstrations... Perhaps these people don't like seeing women in public."

Shajila was allegedly assaulted by BJP protesters in Thiruvanathapuram on Tuesday, 1 January, while covering protests against the entry of women in Sabarimala.

Three BJP Workers Injured

Three BJP workers injured at Vadanappally in Thrissur district during clashes with Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) workers, reported ANI.

No Urgent Hearing On Plea Against Sabrimala "Purification": SC

The Supreme Court refused to accord urgent hearing to a contempt petition moved by a lawyers' group against Sabarimala temple authorities for closing the shrine after women's entry.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul said that the contempt petition will be heard along with the pending review petitions against the apex court verdict, which had allowed women of all age groups to enter the Sabarimala temple.

Advocate PV Dinesh, appearing for Indian Young Lawyers Association, told the bench that in violation of the SC verdict, temple authorities had closed the shrine on Wednesday, 2 January, for purification purposes after two women had entered the sanctum sanctorum.

Protesting Provocative Action by Kerala Govt: Shashi Tharoor

Thiruvanantapuram MP and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor slammed the CPI(M)-led Kerala government for “provocative action” on Sabarimala and the BJP for “violence and vandalism.”

Cameraperson Allegedly Attacked by BJP Workers

Asianet cameraperson Biju was allegedly attacked by BJP workers during protest over Sabarimala temple.

BJP Workers Hold Protest March

Sabarimala Karma Samiti and BJP workers hold protest march in Pandalam over the issue of entry of women to Sabarimala temple.

Kerala People Not Against Women Entering Sabarimala: CM Vijayan

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at a press conference that the Kerala government had followed the Supreme Court order in providing protection to the women who had entered the Sabarimala temple, and that the people of Kerala were not against women entering the shrine.

"“It is the government’s responsibility to give protection to women. The government has fulfilled this constitutional responsibility. Sangh Parivar is trying to make Sabarimala into a clash zone.”" - Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala CM

He claimed that the BJP's call for hartal (protests) was based on “fake news.”

“The women were not given any special treatment or taken in a helicopter. They were just given police protection. We followed the SC order and provided security to both the ladies, they were not given any special preference. They did not face any opposition. When they reached Sabarimala, they conducted rituals with other devotees,” said Vijayan.

He added that the devotees who were present at the temple had helped and provided the women with all the necessary arrangements.

“For hours after their visit, there was no violence or protest. This just shows that the people of Kerala are not against women going to Sabarimala,” said Vijayan.

The chief minister asserted that he was "forced to intervene to prevent any further clashes or violence.” “We will take strict action against any violent protesters,” Vijayan said addressing the media.

Two CPI(M) Workers Held For Unnithan's Death

Two CPI(M) workers were arrested in connection with the killing of Sabarimala Karma Samithi worker Chandran Unnithan, on Thursday, 3 January.

He was reportedly stoned to death while taking out an anti-government protest following the entry of two women to the temple, reported ANI.

KSRTC Stops Bus Operations to Kerala

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation has stopped its bus operations to Kerala for the day in view of the hartal called by various organisations over women’s entry into Sabarimala temple, reported ANI.

UDF Observes 'Black Day'

The United Democratic Front (UDF) observed a 'black day' in the state in connection with Sabarimala temple women entry issue.

Man Injured During Sabarimala Clashes, Dies

A 55-year-old Sabarimala Karma Samiti worker, Chandran Unnithan, who was injured on 2 January, in a clash between CPI(M) and BJP workers, in Pandalam, has succumbed to his injuries, reported ANI on Thursday, 3 January.

Police investigation into the death is reportedly underway.

Traders, Tourism Firms Vow to Boycott Hartal

Traders and tourism firms on vowed to boycott state-wide hartal on Thursday, 3 January, by Hindu outfits, reported The Indian Express.

Over 200 Police Personnel Deployed After Attack on Kerala Tourism House

Over 200 police personnel were deployed at 30 Kerala government establishments after an attack on Kerala guest house by suspected Hindutwa groups.

Air India Requests Passengers to Schedule Travel Plan Amid Protests

Air India said, as reported by ANI, the protests at several locations in Kerala may affect passengers travelling from Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode. The airline has requested passengers are requested to schedule their travel plans to/from airports accordingly.

Daylight Rape on Hindu People, Says Union Minister Hegde

Union Minister Ananth Kumar Hegde, in an interview to ANI, said that the “Kerala government has entirely failed. It is totally daylight rape on Hindu people.”

He also said that law and order is a state subject and the situation should have been handled better, “The chief minister's prejudice, rather than the Leftist prejudice, is causing complete confusion in Kerala. The Supreme Court has given the direction, I totally agree with that. But since law and order is a state subject, it should have seen how it can be managed diplomatically without hurting the faith of the masses.”

Women Should Enter Sabarimala Openly, Not Secretly: CPI

The Communist Party of India (CPI) appeared to disapprove of two women of menstruating age group entering the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala "secretly" on Wednesday and said it should have been done "openly".

"Generally, we want women's entry (into the Sabarimala shrine), but we don't want something secretly to be done. It is to be done openly, everybody should accept, that's our view," CPI general secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy said.

"It's good that according to the Supreme Court judgement, some women could enter it (the shrine)," he said.

Protests Turn Violent in Vadakara, Kozhikode and Malappuram

Protesters set fire to boards in Vadakara, leading to the detention of protesters after a protest turned violent, after they were asked to disperse, reported The News Minute. BJP and Yuva Morcha protesters in Kozhikode also congregated outside the office of the District Police Chief.

The protesters set fire to a rubber tyre and flex boards before being cleared from the area for obstructing public pathways. A protest in Malappuram also saw protesters setting fire to rubber tyres.

Angered by Women's Entry in Sabarimala, Protesters Resort to Stone-Throwing

Protests in other locations in Kerala also saw sporadic stone-throwing and clashes with the police. In many locations, protesters stopped journalists from recording visuals and carrying out their work.

BJP cadres marched to the event, and forcibly shut shops on the way. They also attacked a KSRTC bus that was coming from Chitoor by throwing stones. According to media reports, police had to resort to many rounds of lathi-charge against the protesters from both BJP and Sabarimala Karma Samithi.

Will Face Wrath of Lord Ayyappa: Cong, BJP Tell Kerala CM

Opposition Congress and the BJP lashed out at the CPI(M)-led LDF government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after two women in their 40s entered the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the entry of the women into the shrine "hurt" the sentiments of devotees and it shows the headstrong attitude of the chief minister to take women of the traditionally "barred" age group to the temple.

"Who took them to the temple just after the women's wall? They were absconding for many days after their first attempt to trek the hill on 24 December. It's clear that the women were under police protection. Police acted on behalf of CM's direction. This was a result of the obstinate attitude of the chief minister," Chennithala told reporters here.

Protests Break Out in Kerala, Women Journalists Attacked

Several journalists have been attacked thus far by protesters at the protest location outside Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram.

Journalists on the ground also report that protesters seem to be looking out for any women journalists in order to direct their attacks towards them, forcing women journalists to take extreme measures to carry out their work, reported The News Minute.

Kairali TV’s cameraperson Shajila Alifathima was attacked by protesters, while Peethambaran Payyeri of the Deccan Chronicle was attacked and had his camera destroyed.

Also Read: No Devotee Troubled Us: One of the 2 Women Who Entered Sabarimala

Sabarimala Karma Samithi Calls Day-Long Hartal in Kerala on Thursday

Hours after two women under the age of 50 managed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple in the early hours of Wednesday, 2 January, the Sabarimala Karma Samithi and Ayyappa Karma Samithi have called for a day-long hartal in the state. The statewide bandh will be observed from 6 am to 6 pm on Thursday, 3 January, Sabarimala Karma Samithi member Rahul Easwar confirmed.

Every Woman Has Right to Worship: CPI(M) Leader Brinda Karat

Senior CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said that every woman has the right to worship at the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in Kerala.

On two women in their 40s entering the shrine and offering prayers in the early hours of Wednesday, the party's politburo member said the LDF government in the state is implementing the Supreme Court judgment.

"Every woman has the right to worship if they so wish," Karat told PTI.

"(The) two women wanted to worship and they were enabled to do so and given the security required by the Kerala government," the CPI(M) leader said.

Activist Trupti Desai Hails Young Women's Entry

Social activist Trupti Desai has hailed the entry of two women in their mid forties into the Lord Aayyappa hill shrine in Kerala's Sabarimala, saying it is a "victory of equality".

Desai was forced to return from the Kochi airport when she arrived to offer prayers at Sabarimala with six young women, following "nama japam" (chanting of Ayyappa hymns) protests by devotees and right wing outfits for 13 hours on November 16.

Desai said she was happy to hear that two women in their forties had managed to reach the 'sannidhanam' (temple complex) and offer prayers to Lord Ayyappa and congratulated their effort.

BJP Women Protest Outside Secretariat

Five BJP Mahila Morcha members are protesting against two women entering the Sabarimala on Wednesday. They were stopped from entering the state secretariat by police in Thiruvananthapuram.

Devotees Did Not Create any Issue: Kanakadurga

Kanakadurga, one of the women who entered Sabarimala, said that the devotees did not create any hurdles for them.

Speaking to The Quint, Kanakadurga said:

“During the entire time, not a single issue was created by any of the devotees there. No violence. We also worshipped along with the other devotees. After a good worship, we have returned. When we reached Pamban river, we needed police protection and that was provided to us,” said Kanakadurga.

Trupti Desai Hails Two Women Who Entered Sabarimala

Our Responsibility to Ensure Safety: Kerala DGP

Kerala DGP Lokanath Behera said that it was the “responsibility of police to provide protection” to those who visited the Sabarimala temple.

“Verifying the age and other details is not our responsibility,” said the DGP, speaking to ANI.

Security Tightened Outside Bindu's Residence

Security has been tightened in outside Bindu’s residence in Koyilandy. The house is locked and Bindu's husband Hariharan and their seven-year-old daughter are away, reported Manorama News.

Sabarimala Shut for 'Purification'

The sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple in Kerala was shut for “purification rituals” after two women entered the temple in the earlier in the day.

The sanctum sanctorum was closed at 10.30 am, as opposed to 1 pm when it is usually shut, reported The News Minute.

While there is a pooja that is held at 12.40 pm usually, all priests have exited the sanctum sanctorum with the maelshanti (chief priest) going to the Thantri’s room, the report said.

Women Entered Sabarimala, Confirms Vijayan

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that women devotees entered Sabarimala temple, reported News18.

Condemn Govt, Police Conspiracy: Easwar

Rahul Easwar tweeted that he condemned the Kerala government, alleging police conspiracy in allowing the two women to enter Sabarimala.

Women Reportedly Offered Prayers at 3:45 AM

The two women devotees, Bindu and Kanakdurga, entered and offered prayers at the Sabarimala temple at 3.45am on 2 January, reported ANI.

The women, reportedly in their 40s, were accompanied by police personnel. They had earlier tried to enter the temple in December 2018, but were stopped due to massive protests, reported ANI.

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