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Sabarimala LIVE: Nair Service Society Asks Modi Govt to Issue Ordinance to Protect Temple Traditions

Edited By: Sumedha Kirti

News18.com

Last Updated: January 03, 2019, 23:14 IST

BJP workers burn an effigy of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during a protest over the Sabarimala issue, in Kanyakumari on Thursday. (Image: PTI)

BJP workers burn an effigy of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during a protest over the Sabarimala issue, in Kanyakumari on Thursday. (Image: PTI)

Sabarimala LIVE: Not Afraid of BJP, Says a Tearful Kerala Camerawoman as Mob Heckles Her During Protest

Sabarimala LIVE Updates: The Nair Service Society (NSS) has decided to approach the Centre to bring out an Ordinance to protect the Ayyappa temple rituals in Sabarimala, NSS general secretary G Sukumaran Nair said.

“The only solution to such a crisis situation is to close the sanctum sanctorum and to initiate corrective measures,” said Sukumaran Nair.

Earlier, a woman journalist was allegedly assaulted by the Bharatiya Janata Party workers in Thiruvananthapuram while she was covering statewide protests against entry of two women devotees, in their forties, into Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.

Images and video of Kairali TV camerawoman Shajila Ali Fathim, covering protests on Wednesday despite the attack, have gone viral on social media. According to Dool News, Fathim said that she was not afraid of the BJP and would continue to cover the agitations. The journalist was lauded by netizens for her courage, despite being visibly disturbed.

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A 37-year-old man was stabbed during a clash between workers of the BJP and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) in Thrissur, while two were injured. In Thiruvananthapuram, two Congress workers were hurt after CM’s cavalcade hit them while they were showing black flags to Pinarayi Vijayan near secretariat.

A dawn-to-dusk 12-hour hartal called by Hindu outfits began on Thursday morning in protest against the entry of two women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa. The shutdown turned violent at several places as incidents of vandalism were reported in Thiruvanathapuram, Calicut, Malappuram and others. Houses of five CPM leaders were also attacked, while eight local BJP workers were taken into preventive custody.

Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation authorities have said that buses remain off roads due to the hartal (strike). A Kerala bus was also vandalised in Thrissur. A pro-Hindutva group in Hyderabad has also called for a protest against “the heinous act of the Communist government".

This is the the seventh shutdown called by right-wing groups in just three months over the Sabarimala issue. Traders’ organisations have said they will not cooperate with the shutdown and sought police protection to open their establishments. On December 20, over 35 trade organisations in Kerala had come together to announce that 2019 will be ‘anti-hartal year’.

Meanwhile, a CPM worker has been held in connection with the death of a man during protests in Pandalam.

As the news of the women entering the temple spread on Wednesday, protests erupted with right-wing activists blocking highways and forcing closure of shops and markets. Media personnel, reporting from outside the state secretariat, were allegedly attacked by BJP and Yuva Morcha activists.

Announcing the dawn-to-dusk shutdown on behalf of the Sabarimala Karma Samiti Samiti, its leader K P Sasikala said the government has betrayed devotees. The Samiti, which is spearheading protests against the Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the hill shrine, urged people to cooperate with them in their protest. Sasikala said the protests would continue till Pinarayi Vijayan resigns as chief minister.

The United Democratic Front (UDF) will also observe a ‘Black Day’ across the state. UDF convenor Benny Behanan said that it is declared against the violation of customs in Sabarimala and hurting the sentiments of devotees by allowing women secretly to the temple.

Scripting history, two women who are in their 40s entered the Ayyappa temple early Wednesday and offered prayers. Sasikala said the government acted like a “coward" and took the women to the shrine during the early hours.

Among the journalists attacked were Asianet reporter Prakula, Deccan Chronicle photojournalist Peethambaran Payyeri, Mathrubhumi video-journalist Biju. Camera and equipment of channels like Mathrubhumi and Media One were also damaged.

The Kerala Union of Working Journalists’ flayed the attack on the media personnel and sought stern action.

The Antharashtriya Hindu Parishad has also called for a hartal Thursday. The Nair Service Society, an outfit of Kerala’s forward Nair community, condemned the violation of Sabarimala’s centuries-old tradition and said it would continue its legal battle to protect the faith of Ayyappa devotees.

NSS, which has filed a review plea in the Supreme Court challenging its verdict, expressed hope that the top court would take a favourable decision. The top court will consider the review plea on January 22.

Addressing a meeting of NSS members on the occasion of the Mannam Jayanti celebrations at its headquarters in Changanassery near Kottayam, NSS general secretary G Sukumaran Nair said it would approach the Centre if the apex court rejects its plea. “We will continue our legal battle," he said.

“If there is a divine intervention, definitely, the verdict will be in favour of us," Nair added. An ordinance is the only other way out if the top court rejects the plea seeking review of its earlier verdict, he said.

The Supreme Court had refused to stay its verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups into the shrine, but agreed to hear in open court on January 22 a batch of review petitions in the matter.

Nair supported the decision taken by the chief priest of the temple to perform a ‘purification’ ceremony after the two women entered the shrine and offered prayers, violating the tradition of the temple.

Raising voice against the shutdown, tourism industry representatives, including Kerala Tourism Task Force convener Abraham George, said the sector was gradually returning to normal after last August’s deluge.

In view of the severe damage to the sector in the floods causing huge revenue loss, the tourism industry will function as usual during the shutdown, a statement issued by the representatives said.

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