Protest turn violent across Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram: Protests erupted at various parts of Kerala on Wednesday against the entry of two women in their forties into the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, police said.
BJP workers waved black flags at Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran in Guruvayur where he had gone to attend a function.
BJP chief Sreedharan Pillai stated that protests will be strengthened across Kerala.
Health minister K K Shylaja also had to face the ire of activists of Yuva Morcha, the party's youth wing at Kannur, who waved black flags, they said. The protestors were removed by the police.
BJP workers also took out a protest march in the state capital.
Local hartal declared
Hartal was declared in some regions. Angry protesters blocked vehicles and forcefully shut down shops. The interruption of traffic also affected Sabarimala pilgrims.
A tense situation was reported at the protest venue (samarapandhal) of BJP in front of the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram. Over 100 activists gathered here and staged protest against women entry in Sabarimala.
Some activists manhandled media personnel during the protest. Camera of Mathrubhumi News team was destroyed in the attack.
Mahila Morcha activists staged a protest by chanting Ayappa mantra on secretariat premises.
Protesters blocked traffic on National Highway at Edappally.
In Kollam district, Sabarimala Karma Samithi called for a hartal at Paravur, Kottarakkara and Pattazhi. Protesters laid siege to the road creating traffic block at Chadayamangalam.
Traffic interrupted, shops closed
At Kottrakkara, protesters forcefully closed shops, said reports. Protesters manhandled a passenger during the protest in Kollam. Malayala Manorama photographer Vishnu V Sanal was attacked when he tried to take photographs of the incident. His camera was also destroyed by the protesters.
Office of temples were also closed. Strong protests were held at Alappuzha, Ambalappuzha and Mavelikkara. In Thrissur district, Sabarimala Karma Samithi activists blocked vehicles and forcefully closed shops at Mala and Kodungallur.
Sangh Parivar activists blocked Kasaragod-National highway and interrupted traffic.
Earlier on Wednesday, two women in their forties entered the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa in the wee hours and offered prayers.
Following their entry, the chief priest decided to close the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in order to perform the 'purification' ceremony. The sanctum sanctorum wa reopened after 11.30 am.
With inputs from PTI