Sabarimala, Jan 2: Kerala witnessed protests on Wednesday after two women in their 40s entered and offered prayers at the Sabarimala temple.
In the wake of this, the Sabarimala Karma Samithi (SMS) also called for a state-wide shutdown on Thursday.
The women- CPI(ML) activist Bindu (42) who belongs to Kozhikode district, and Kanakadurga (44), from Malappuram, started climbing the steps to Lord Ayyappa shrine around midnight and arrived at the doorsteps of Temple at 3:45 am for darshan.
The temple was closed for an hour to conduct “purification rituals” after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that Bindu and Kanaka Durga performed prayers at 3.30 a.m.
They were accompanied by police personnel. They had tried to visit the shrine
Bindu and Kanakadurga became the first female pilgrims of menstruating age to offer prayers at the shrine after the Supreme Court overturned a decades-old ban on women’s entry.
SKS activists pledged not to rest till Vijayan was ousted from office and called a dawn-to-dusk shutdown on Thursday.
Speaking to the media over telephone, Bindu said she and Durga reached the Pamba base camp around 1.30 a.m. and along with a few police officers in civilian clothes went up the pathway.
“The government had assured us all help… We, however, did not climb the hallowed 18 steps, instead went through the way normally used by VIPs,” said Bindu.
“We did not have any problems. Barring minor protests, there was no other issue.”
As the news came into the limelight, Sangh Parivar organisations took to the streets across Kerala blocking traffic, burning tyres on main roads and stoning buses.
In the state capital, the police used water canons and tear gas to disperse clashing CPI-M and Sangh Parivar activists.
Protests were also reported from Kochi, Palghat, Kozhikode and Kasargode.