Dawn-to-dusk shutdown in Kerala over Sabarimala row

Thiruvananthapuram: A dawn-to-dusk Kerala shutdown call, given by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi (SKS) to protest against the visit of two women to the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday, evoked a mixed response in the state on Thursday.

The SKS said the shutdown was intended to oppose the role of the Kerala government which apparently facilitated the entry of the women inside the temple before dawn on Wednesday.

There were skirmishes at various places between the organisers of the shutdown and those who tried to resist it.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Sangh parivar forces have pledged their support to the SKS shutdown call, and their activists are enforcing it.

While state-owned and private buses are off the road, private vehicles, mostly two wheelers are plying. Private cars are also moving in Thiruvananthapuram and other major cities in Kerala.

Ten people in Kannur were arrested after they attacked vehicles that plied before the BJP office.

Even as the two traders’ body in the state had announced that they would open their shops, in several places, shops were yet to open.

However, in Kozhikode, traders were determined to open their shops, even as the SKS and BJP activists were protesting.

“This frequent calling of shutdown is not acceptable as we are determined to open the shops and from now on, we will open in future also,” said a group of shopkeepers at Kozhikode.

Similarly, in Thevara near Kochi, shops are open.

An incident of stone pelting at an interstate bus from Karnataka was reported from Kozhikode district.

Similar incidents have also been reported from Kasargode, Palakkad and certain other places.

Various university examinations scheduled for Thursday have been postponed and all educational institutions in the state are closed.

Meanwhile, the weekly cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan decided to see that strong action is taken against those who try to create trouble during the shutdown.

At Pandalam in Alappuzha district, angry BJP and Sangh parivar activists took out a protest march, after one of their supporters who was injured in a stone throwing by CPI-M workers, on Wednesday, died late night.

One CPI-M worker has been arrested and the wife of the deceased said the family does not believe that a fair probe will happen.