Kerala shutdown over Sabarimala near total

Thiruvananthapuram: The state-wide shutdown called by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi on Thursday saw huge response with near total effect while just a few private vehicles moving on road.

The dawn to dusk shutdown backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance was called against Wednesday’s police attack on protesters who were opposing the entry of women within the age group of 10-50 years to the Lord Ayyappa shrine.

At a few places in Kozhikode, Malappuram and here, protesters stoned buses of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation following which their operation was suspended.

On the occasion of Mahanavami all state and central government offices, banks and educational institutions were closed.

Shops and markets also remained shut. There were poor attendance at the IT parks here and in Kochi. It was the railway commuters who faced the brunt of the shutdown as they failed to get taxis and public vehicles from the stations.

The temple opened on Wednesday at 5 p.m. for the monthly pujas. It was first day after the Supreme Courts September 28 verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the shrine revoking the traditional ban on all those girls and women who are within the puberty limits.

Traditionalists came up in arms against the new norm as the state government deployed a huge police force to enforce the top court’s order. The temple will remain open till October 22.