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Sabarimala violence: BJP MP's ancestral home attacked, RSS office set on fire; over 1,286 cases registered

Kerala has been rocked by protests by right-wing groups after two women of "menstruating age" offered prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala on January 2.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
Sabarimala Updated on: January 05, 2019 22:35 IST
  Kerala has been rocked by protests by right-wing groups


Kerala has been rocked by protests by right-wing groups after two women of "menstruating age" offered prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala on January 2. 

Kerala continued to remain on boil on Saturday as well over the Sabarimala issue. Violence erupted all across the state on Friday night. Bombs were 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 on Friday.

Reacting to media soon after the incident, Shamseer said; "This was an RSS conspiracy to instigate violence in the state. They intend to create violence and destroy the peaceful atmosphere of the state".

The incident 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.

Bombs were also hurled at CPI(M) leader and former Kannur district secretary of CPI(M) P Sasi's house at Thalassery and a CPI(M) activist Vishak attacked at Iritty, a place in Kannur district.

In another development, prohibitory orders have been issued at Pandalam, Adoor and Kodumon police station areas in Pathanamthitta district for seven days.

Two shops and the house of a CPI(M) local leader at Adoor were also attacked with bombs on Friday. Seven persons were injured in these attacks.

Pathanamthitta has witnessed widespread violence over the entry of women into the hill-top shrine of Sabarimala resulting in the death of a Sabarimala Karma Samiti member Chandran Unnithan at Pandalam.


In yet another incident, the ancestral house of BJP MP V Muraleedharan was attacked by unidentified men. However, no men was injured.

"My sister, brother-in-law and their daughter were in the house when the attack took place," Muraleedharan told PTI.

The entry of two women into the hill shrine on Wednesday, the first time since the Supreme Court in September last year lifted the age-linked ban on the entry of women devotees, triggered massive protests in Kerala. 

Muraleedharan had sought a probe by the NIA into the "conspiracy" of police escorting the two women with Maoist links to Sabarimala.

So far, over 1,700 people have been arrested in connection with violence in various parts of the state.


The attacks involving BJP-RSS and ruling CPI(M) workers, BJP MP V Muraleedharan marked the return of political violence on large-scale after a gap of over a year in the sensitive district.

Kerala has been rocked by violent protests by BJP-RSS and right wing outfits after two women of menstruating age offered prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple on January 2.

Besides Kannur, Perambra in neighbouring Kozhikode, Malappuram and Adoor in Pathanamthitta, where the Ayyappa shrine is located, also witnessed a series of similar attacks and vandalism Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday.

As the violence continued to disrupt normal life in Kannur and other places, state police chief Loknath Behera sounded a state-wide alert and gave direction to take stern action against those responsible for the attacks on the houses of party leaders.

A total of 260 people have been arrested so far in connection with the Kannur violence in the last two days, an official statement said adding patrolling and raids had been intensified across the district.

Police carried out a route march Saturday morning in Thalassery, where 19 people had been arrested and 33 taken into preventive custody.


The Kerala Police has registered 1,286 cases in which 37,979 people are accused following the widespread violence that followed the entry of two women to the Sabarimala shrine, police chief Loknath Behra said on Saturday.

A statement issued by Behra said that so far 3,178 arrests had been made and 487 of them were in custody while 2,691 had got bail.

In Palakkad district, which witnessed the worst violence, 4,946 cases had been registered. Kozhikode accounted for 3,763 cases.

The shutdown was called by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi (SKS) to protest against the visit of two women to the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday. It got the support of the BJP and Sangh Parivar outfits.

Following the violence, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has asked for a detailed report from the Kerala government.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Saturday that the Sangh Parivar forces were purposely trying to create unrest and what was more surprising was that the Congress was silent.

"Violence will be dealt with an iron hand," said Vijayan.

State BJP President P.S. Sreedharan Pillai told the media that Vijayan was creating a bad precedent by registering cases and arresting innocent supporters.

Hitting back at Vijayan, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said the Chief Minister need not teach his party anything.

"Who does not know that it is Vijayan who is giving all the support to the Sangh Parivar forces and as a result they are creating mayhem in the state. We don't have to learn anything form Vijayan," said Chennithala.


The BJP on Saturday alleged that the violence around the Sabarimala temple in Kerala was unleashed by the LDF government in the state, which, instead of dealing with it in a sensible way, had wreaked havoc, resulting in the devotees being hurt and even killed.

The saffron party also said the Sabarimala issue was about Hindus and not about the ruling party.

"All this has been done by the CPI(M) goons with the full authority and support of the state government. The CPI(M) has a history of unleashing violence against the RSS-BJP cadre, but today, they are not even sparing the devotees.

"The state government is using the cadres of the DYFI, the SDPI and this is state-sponsored violence being unleashed. A devotee was killed two days ago and a bomb was hurled at the ancestral home of one of our MPs," Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said.

He further said the agitations at the Sabarimala temple were not political in nature, but peaceful protests to uphold the traditions of the shrine.

"This is an issue of devotees, not an issue of the BJP. This is an issue concerning the Hindu society," Rao added.


A senior Kerala minister Saturday attacked the Sabarimala temple's Tantri (chief priest), calling him a "Brahmin monster" for conducting a 'purification' ceremony after two women in the menstrual age group entered the shrine.

The women, Kanakadurga (44) and Bindu (42), entered the shrine and offered prayers on Wednesday, breaking a centuries-old tradition. Following this, the tantri, Kandaru Rajeevaru, closed the sanctum sanctorum to perform the 'purification' ceremony.

Kerala public works department (PWD) minister and senior CPI(M) leader G Sudhakaran asked if a man who treated "a sister as impure" can be considered human.

"The tantri is a symbol of caste devil. He is not a Brahmin. He is a Brahmin monster. If a Brahmin becomes a monster, he will be a terror, he told reporters.

"He is not a 'shuddha (pure) Brahmin'. He does not have any love, respect and allegiance towards Lord Ayyappa," the minister alleged.

Kanakadurga and Bindu had entered the hallowed precincts, guarded by police.

Their entry into the shrine came three months after the Supreme Court's historic judgment lifting the ban on the entry of girls and women between 10 to 50 years of age into the hilltop shrine of Lord Ayyappa -- the eternally celibate deity.


Noting that the Supreme Court in India has ruled on the issue of women entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, a spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said the world body encourages all to respect the rule of law.

"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,” Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq told reporters at his daily press briefing on Friday.


The UK government has updated its travel advisory to India, warning British citizens to remain vigilant and avoid large public gatherings, following violent protests in Kerala over the issue of women entering the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which regularly updates its advice for travel to different parts of the world, said on Friday that any British citizens planning to travel to Kerala should monitor media reports.

"There have been violent protests in some towns and cities in Kerala over the issue of women accessing the Sabarimala temple. Some public services have been disrupted in the wake of clashes between police and protesters," the FCO advisory said.

"If you are in Kerala or due to travel there, you should monitor media reports closely, remain vigilant and avoid large public gatherings," it noted.

Kerala has been rocked by protests by right-wing groups after two women of "menstruating age" offered prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala on January 2. Hundreds of people have been arrested so far in connection with the violence over the last few days. 

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