Policemen chase away a man during a protest against the entry of two women to the Sabarimala temple, in Thiruvananthapuram. (Photo: PTI)
Parts of Kerala, particularly Kannur district, witnessed a massive violence on Saturday with several houses and shops of BJP-RSS and ruling CPI(M) leaders and workers being attacked over the Sabarimala issue. Apart from Kannur, Perambra in neighbouring Kozhikode, Malappuram and Adoor in Pathanamthitta, where the Ayyappa shrine is located, also witnessed a series of similar attacks and vandalism on Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday.
According to the police, bombs were hurled at several places, including at the houses of CPI(M) MLA AN Shamseer in Madapeedikayil, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member V Muraleedharan at Vadiyil Peedikia and former Kannur district secretary of CPI(M) P Sasi at Thalassery in Kannur district past midnight. However, no one was injured in the attacks.
Blaming the RSS for the violence, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan lashed out at the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party, saying the Sangh Parivar was trying to create fear in people's minds.
Meanwhile, a peace meeting called by the Revenue Divisional Officer at Adoor in Pathanamthitta district was boycotted by the BJP, slamming the police for failing to arrest the accused in connection with the death of Chandran Unnithan, a 'Sabarimala Karma Samiti' member who, the party alleged, was killed in stone-pelting on January 3.
Vijayan said "the state will deal with the RSS violence sternly. They are trying to destroy the peace and tranquility of the state. We will take stong action against it. It's the RSS agenda to create fear in the minds of the people," Vijayan told reporters, adding that it will not be allowed.
He said people of the state have shown restraint. "The RSS workers were attacking houses of MLAs, and other leaders. Their only aim and route is violence. The law and order system of the state will take care of it," he said.
The Opposition Congress also hit out Vijayan, asking why the left government failed to stop the RSS from creating trouble.
Senior congress leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged the state police had failed to maintain law and order.
"The DGP himself has accepted this. Why has the government failed to stop the BJP from creating violence?" Chennithala asked.
Sabarimala temple's Tantri a ‘Brahmin monster’
State minister and CPI(M) leader G Sudhakaran sparked a controversy calling Sabarimala temple's Tantri (chief priest), a "Brahmin monster" for conducting a 'purification' ceremony after two women in the menstrual age group entered the shrine.
"The tantri is a symbol of caste devil. He is not a Brahmin. He is a Brahmin monster. If a Brahmin becomes a monster, he will be a terror," he told reporters."He is not a 'shuddha (pure) Brahmin'. He does not have any love, respect and allegiance towards Lord Ayyappa," the minister alleged.
On Wednesday, two women, Kanakadurga, 44, and Bindu, 42, had entered the shrine and offered prayers, breaking a centuries-old tradition.
Following this, the tantri, Kandaru Rajeevaru, closed the sanctum sanctorum to perform the 'purification' ceremony.
Since then Kerala has been rocked by violent protests by BJP-RSS and right wing outfits.
As violence continued to disrupt life in Kannur and other places, state police chief Loknath Behera sounded a state-wide alert and gave direction to take stern action against those responsible for attacks on houses of party leaders.
According to Behara, 1,286 cases have been registered till Saturday night and 3,282 people have been arrested in connection with the violent incidents since the January 3. Of the arrested, 487 have been remanded and 2,795 granted bail.
(With PTI inputs)