Violent protests broke out in Kerala after two women under the age of fifty entered the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday. An injured protester died during the clashes, resulting in a dusk-to-dawn shutdown in Kerala on Thursday
Two women under the age of fifty entered the Sabarimala temple early on Wednesday. This was followed by violent protests across Kerala. Chandran Unnithan, a protester from the BJP-supported Sabarimala Karma Samithi, suffered a head injury during the protests. In the late hours of Wednesday, the injured protester passed away in the hospital.
Post the death, Sabarimala Karma Samithi, which has been at the forefront of protests against women’s entry into the temple, demanded a complete shutdown in Kerala on Thursday. The day is being observed as “black day” by Congress ally, United Democratic Front.
According to allegations, protester Chandran Unnithan was injured during stone pelting from the Communist Party of India (M) office. Kerala police spokesperson, Pramod Kumar further informed, “The person who died was part of a BJP demonstration yesterday and got injured when some stones were thrown”, adding that at least “15 others were injured in incidents across the state”.
Despite the historical Supreme Court judgement in September that revoked the ban on women’s entry into Sabarimala temple, entry of women above 10 and below 50 continues to be restricted. In the wee hours of Wednesday, two women in their 40s, Bindu and Kanika Durga became the first to enter the hill shrine since the judgement.
Criticising the “purification” of the shrine, followed by the entry of the women on Wednesday, Kerala’s minister EP Jayarajan asserted that the act was a contempt of court as “untouchability is against the law”.
Amid persistent conflict over the hill shrine, Thursday’s shutdown has resulted heavy security across the state.