Violence takes over Kerala, as the left and right clashed over Sabarimala

Kerala witnessed wide-spread violence since Thursday morning, as Sabarimala Karma Samithi (SKS) and other right wing orgnizations called for a strike till dusk. The right-wing organizations across the state and country are fuming with anger after two women of reproductive age with help from Kerala administration, crept inside the Sabarimala shrine on Wednesday early morning, breaking a tradition dating back atleast 800 years.

The strike was relatively peaceful at the beginning, however as the day proceeded, reports of clashes between left and right wing activists started coming from various corners of the state. Workers and supporters belonging to various orgnizations and parties such as CPI(M), BJP, SKS, RSS, DYFI, SDPI, PFI etc clashed with each other.

Shops, houses and party offices were vandalised. The citizens who were aware of the escalating tensions in the atmosphere ever since the violation of the Sabarimala tradition on Wednesday early morning, largely preferred to stay back at home on Thursday.

The police made a vain attempt to prevent SKS workers who went on the rampage, smashing shop windows, throwing wares out onto the street and wrecking private vehicles parked on the road. The suburbs of Nedumangadu and Malayankeezhu witnessed pitched battles between BJP and CPI(M) workers. The police lobbed tear-gas shells to disperse the mobs.

Kerala State Transport Corporation endured significant losses with as many as 79 buses getting damaged at various parts of the state, throughout the day. The attack on buses naturally caused trouble to commuters, especially to tourists and non-natives. In Thrissur Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) workers stabbed three BJP activists who attempted to forcibly close a hotel run by a minority community member.

Meanwhile, Governor P Sathasivam sought an “urgent report” from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the disturbances during the 12-hour statewide shutdown called by Hindu fringe groups and supported by the BJP.

“Sought from Chief Minister @CMOKerala an urgent Law and Order report on the incidents of violence and destruction of private & public property in Kerala following entry of two young women in #Sabarimala temple,” the governor said in a tweet. He also appealed to all sections of people to maintain calm and peace across the state.