Ayyappa devotees stage protests in Karnataka Devotees of Lord Ayyappa staged protests at several places across Karnataka on Thursday against the entry of two women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple in neighbouring Kerala. (Read more here) Meeting under the banner of the 'Sabarimala Samrakshana Vedike' (Save Sabarimala Forum), the protesters demanded Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's resignation over the incident. The protesters pointed out that Vijayan was not only a party leader but also the chief minister of a state and, hence, he should respect the religious sentiments of crores of Ayyappa devotees because India is a democratic country.
The Sabarimala Karma Samithi (SKS), which had the backing of the BJP and RSS, said it called the protest to oppose the role of the Kerala government which facilitated the entry of the two women inside the temple before dawn on Wednesday.
What began as minor skirmishes at various places between the strike organisers and its opponents aggravated during the day as more than 300 protesters were arrested, with nearly 100 people, including police officials, getting injured in the violence.
The worst affected districts included Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kasargode and Kannur.
A number of CPI-M offices came under attack. In several places in the suburbs of the state capital, it was a free for all as rival factions took on one another. In Nedumangadu near Thiruvananthapuram, crude bombs were thrown at CPI-M offices while homes of CPI-M leaders were attacked.
While state-owned and private buses were off the road, private vehicles, mostly two-wheelers, plied. Private cars also operated in Thiruvananthapuram and other major cities in Kerala.
Ten people in Kannur were arrested after they attacked vehicles that went past the BJP office.
At Pandalam in Alappuzha district, BJP and RSS activists took out a protest march after one of their supporters who was injured in stone throwing by CPI-M workers on Wednesday died late at night.
A CPI-M worker has been arrested and the wife of the deceased said the family does not believe a fair probe will happen.