THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala was marred with violence last week as BJP-Sangh Parivar workers seeking to enforce a 12-hour dawn-to-dusk shutdown clashed with police and activists of rival parties, a day after two women created history by becoming the first of their sex between the ages of 10 and 50 years to enter the Sabarimala temple. Over 100 people, including 21 police officers were injured in the violence. Also, Three BJP workers were stabbed in a clash with activists belonging to Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political front of militant Islamist outfit Popular Front of India. The scale and intensity of the violence prompted governor P Sathavisam to seek a report on law and order from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The protests turned violent after one of the volunteers, Chandran Unnithan, 55, an active Sabarimala Karma Samithi worker, succumbed to injuries sustained in stone-pelting by CPM workers. The Chief Minister tried to pass off the death as a result of cardiac arrest but the preliminary post-mortem report indicated that a deep wound in the head had bled excessively. Police used batons and water cannon to disperse protesters armed with sticks and brickbats at various places. Around 100 state transport corporation buses were damaged by protesters.
Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted, “It's politically created violence and an attempt to sabotage the SC verdict. The government cannot tolerate violence in any form and has to take stern action against it.” However, Opposition and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said violence was bound to occur “when senseless people rule the state.” “Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is solely responsible for what is happening here. He has created the platform for the Sangh Parivar forces to go berserk and create mayhem.”
Vijayan clarified, “We followed the SC order and provided security to both the ladies, they were not given any special preference.” He also stated that the violent protests were meticulously planned by BJP, who pelted stones as cops and media persons.
10 women have so far visited Sabari: Police
Video footage shot by the Kerala police shows three Malaysian women of Tamil origin at Sabarimala on January 1, a day before Bindu Ammini and Kanakadurga prayed at the hill-top temple and were formally declared as the first women under 50 to have had Ayyappa darshan since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict. Police now claimed that there are unconfirmed reports of least four more women below 50 having visited Sabarimala since January 1, taking the total number to 10. It is reliably learnt that police have collected details of all these women, to be produced before a court of law if required. Police sources who confirmed the Malaysian women’s visit, however, refused to divulge whether they had darshan at Sabarimala. The three women - whose identities, including name and age, are with the police - were part of a team of 25 pilgrims belonging to the Tamil community in Malaysia.