As many as 1,369 people have been arrested following Thursday’s protests in Kerala against the entry of two women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple, Manorama reported. Around 717 people have been taken into preventive custody so far, and 5,000 people were named in 801 cases filed by police. Stray incidents of violence continued in parts of the state on Friday as well.
Kerala Director General of Police Loknath Behera asked police to stay alert and criticised them for not taking effective measures to control the violence. He alleged that some district police chiefs did not make preventive arrests, and said this aggravated the situation.
Normal life was affected by a hartal called by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Sabarimala Action Council, an umbrella group of Hindutva organisations, on Thursday. BJP and Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers clashed in many places. Vehicular traffic was affected as the BJP and Sabarimala Action Council workers blocked roads. Two police stations were attacked, 31 police personnel injured and 100 buses damaged on Wednesday and Thursday.
As many as six BJP workers sustained stab wounds. Three BJP workers were stabbed at Vadanappally in Thrissur, allegedly by members of the Social Democratic Party of India. A CPI(M) worker was injured when an explosive he wanted to hurl at BJP workers went off in his hand. The violence in the state prompted Governor P Sathasivam to ask for a report from the CPI(M)-led government on the law and order situation.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had criticised the BJP, claiming it was the fifth hartal the saffron party had organised in recent months. He had accused the Sangh Parivar of turning Kerala into a “war zone” and a “planned and deliberate attempt” to create an atmosphere of tension in the state.