Sabarimala: Bandh cripples life in Kerala
The 12-hour shut down called by the Sabarimala Karma Samiti and the BJP to protest the arrest of Hindu Aikya Vedi leader KP Sasikala in the early hours of Saturday crippled normal life in Kerala, the second bandh in a month.
Sasikala, 62, had come for darshan at the hill top, but was stopped by the police on her way to the temple. She was taken into preventive custody at around 2 am for defying prohibitory orders. Police had decided not to allow devotees enter the temple premises when it was closed for the night and they said she was arrested after she went ahead flouting their warning.
Tension gripped many areas after several right-wing outfits started a campaign saying Sasikala was arrested while carrying ‘Irumudi Kettu’, considered a sacrosanct offering taken by devotees to the Sabarimala shrine. Later a local court granted her bail and she said she will go back to the temple again. “I was detained for more than 12 hours on way to the temple. It seems the government is out to destroy the temple,” she said.
This is second shutdown in the state over Sabarimala in a month - Sabarimala Karma Samiti, an umbrella organisation of many right wing organisations, had called a 24-hour bandh on October 19 to protest the baton charge and subsequent violence in two base camps of the temple.
After the Sept 28 verdict of the Supreme Court allowing women of all ages to enter the temple, many areas surrounding the shrine witnessed violent protests.
As the temple opened for second day for annual pilgrimage season many pilgrims were left stranded after the state road transport corporation suspended bus services fearing attacks.