Death in tem­ple clashes

Right-wing Hin­dus protest af­ter women en­ter Lord Ayyappa shrine in Ker­ala

Sunday Tribune - - HERALD -

AN­OTHER woman de­fied ageold tra­di­tions to en­ter an an­cient Hindu tem­ple in south­ern In­dia where protests over the is­sue have left one dead and over 100 in­jured.

The woman, a 46-year-old Sri Lankan na­tional, en­tered the hill­top Sabari­mala tem­ple in Ker­ala state late on Thurs­day night, of­fi­cial sources said, af­ter two women made his­tory by walk­ing into the shrine ear­lier on Wed­nes­day.

The Supreme Court in Septem­ber lifted a tem­ple ban on women of men­stru­at­ing age, on the grounds that their pres­ence would threaten the celibacy of tem­ple de­ity Lord Ayyappa.

Ten­sion has gripped the state since Wed­nes­day, with right-wing Hindu groups car­ry­ing out vi­o­lent protests and street clashes, shut­ting mar­kets and block­ing roads and traf­fic.

While a tem­ple ac­tivist was killed in stone-pelt­ing protests, more than 100 peo­ple, in­clud­ing A MEMO­RIAL to Sav­it­ribai Jy­oti­rao Phule. 21 po­lice­men, were hurt in the shut­down on Thurs­day, the Times of In­dia re­ported.

“We have ar­rested 1369 peo­ple for ri­ot­ing and clashes and taken 717 more into pre­ven­tive cus­tody to stop fur­ther vi­o­lence,” po­lice spokesper­son Pramod Ku­mar said.

The protest ral­lies and strike were called by Sabari­mala Karma Samithi, an or­gan­i­sa­tion of Hindu groups, which is sup­ported by the Hindu na­tion­al­ist Bharatiya Janata Party that gov­erns at the fed­eral level.

Ker­ala’s rul­ing Com­mu­nist party said the state gov­ern­ment was com­ply­ing with court or­ders and would pro­vide pro­tec­tion to women devo­tees who wanted to visit the tem­ple.

The Supreme Court rul­ing de­clared that the ban on the en­try of women went against the rights to equal­ity and to wor­ship guar­an­teed un­der In­dia’s con­sti­tu­tion.

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