Indian Hindu devotees have protested against a recent Supreme Court verdict to allow women into the famous Ayyappa temple

The situation continues to be tense but under control in India’s southern state of Kerala after a couple of women tried entering a temple where they are barred from.

The Sabarimala temple is located in the hills in southern Kerala. Traditionally, women are not allowed to enter it as they are considered “impure” due to menstruation. However, the row began when the country’s apex court, the Supreme Court of India, gave a verdict last year saying there should be no “gender bias” and women should be allowed to enter and offer prayers at the shrine. The court verdict divided the state’s populace triggering a debate over the issue. While some social and political groups supported the court verdict, others staunchly opposed it citing local traditions and customs. The row has slowly taken a political turn, even as country-made bombs were hurled at the houses of leaders of the state’s ruling party the Communist Party of India (CPI) and India’s ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

According to media, country-made bombs were tossed by unidentified persons at the houses of CPI state legislator A.N. Shamsee and the party’s former Kannur district secretary P. Sasi. A similar incident was reported when the ancestral house of BJP parliamentarian V. Muraleedharan was attacked in the early hours of Saturday. Though no one was injured, the houses got damaged to some extent, said media reports. Muraleedharan was quoted as saying that his ancestral home at Vadiyil Peedikia area came under attack. “My sister, brother-in-law and their daughter were in the house when the attack took place,” he reportedly said.

In another incident, unidentified people set fire to an office of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Pariyaram area in the morning. The RSS is the country’s nationalist social organization from which the BJP is known to be drawing its political ideology. A CPI worker was attacked in the state on Saturday night while RSS leader K. Chandrasekharan was assaulted in Thalassery area and his house ransacked allegedly by a group of around 25 workers allegedly belonging to the CPI. Even as tension continues in the state, the CPI and the BJP-RSS leaders traded charges and blamed each other for the violent attacks. Media quoted CPI State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan as saying that the RSS was trying to trigger riots in the state and sabotage peace talks. So far, over 1,700 people have been arrested in connection with violence in various parts of the state.


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