The Sabarimala Karma Samiti has called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in Kerala on Thursday following entry of two women into the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala on Wednesday. The hartal will be held from 6am to 6pm. In addition, the BJP will hold protests across Kerala for the next two days.
However, the Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi (VVES), a Kerala-wide union of traders and merchants, has said their shops would not be shut on Thursday. VVES had recently taken a stand against the frequent hartals in Kerala and had declared 2019 as hartal-opposed year.
Protests erupted in various parts of Kerala on Wednesday against the entry of two women in their forties into the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, police said. A large number of protesters assembled outside Secretariat. While vehicles were vandalised in Mala and Kodungalloor in Thrissur, BJP-RSS-Sabarimala Karma Samithi workers forced shops to shut in Kottarakara.
BJP workers waved black flags at Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran in Guruvayur where he had gone to attend a function.
Health minister K.K. Shylaja also had to face the ire of activists of the Yuva Morcha, the party's youth wing at Kannur, who showed black flags, they said.
The protestors were removed by the police.
BJP workers also took out a protest march in the state capital. In Kasaragod, they blocked traffic on the national highway.
Two women in their forties entered the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa early Wednesday and offered prayers.
Following their entry, the chief priest decided to close the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in order to perform the 'purification' ceremony.