Kerala Shutdown as protester dies after clashes over Sabarimala

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The man who was injured in Kerala clashes, after the entry of two women into Sabarimala temple, dies last night, i.e., 2nd January 2019. Umbrella organization of various right-wing parties have called for a dawn-to-dusk shutdown today.

Violent protests broke out across Kerala following the entry of the two women below 50 into the hill shrine. Protesters blocked the highways and forced closure of shops and markets. Journalists reporting from outside the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram were allegedly attacked by BJP workers and its youth wing activists.

Chandran Unnithan, 55, was injured in clashes between CPI(M) and BJP workers in Pandalam. He was a member of Sabarimala Karma Samithi.He was injured on the head in stone-throwing allegedly from the CPI(M) office and died in hospital. Two people have been detained for the violence.

Loknath Behara , top police officer of Kerala , also warned about the strict actions that would be taken against those who indulge in any kind of violence during the shutdown. Universities who have also postponed the exams that were scheduled for today.

Bindu and Kanaka Durga, both in their early 40s, entered the hilltop shrine around 3.45 am on Wednesday, they were the first to do so since the Supreme Court ordered the end of years old ban on menstruating ladies.

As news of the women’s entry travelled, the shrine was shut down for an hour and a half for “purification”. Kerala minister EP Jayarajan called it contempt of court, saying: “untouchability is against the law.”

KP Sasikala , the leader of Sabarimala Karma Samiti , announced a 12 hour shout down on behalf of the samiti and said that the government had betrayed the devotees. The organisation, which is spearheading protests against the Supreme Court’s September verdict allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the hill shrine, asked people to cooperate with them in their protest.

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