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Protest over Sabarimala row begins in Kerala, security arrangements in place 

Thiruvananthapuram, October 18

Buses and auto-rickshaws stayed off the road as a protest called by various Hindu outfits in Kerala against the decision to allow women of all age groups to enter the Sabarimala temple began on Thursday.

Special security arrangements have been put in place at various locations, including Pamba, Nilackal, Erumeli en route to the Sabarimala temple, located in Pathanamthitta district, officials said.

However, stray incidents of stone-pelting on Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses were reported from some parts of the state, police said. However, private vehicles were plying in some areas.

Police have also promulgated Section 144 of CrPc in four places, including Pamba, Sannidhanam to check any kind of protest and violence.

The Sabarimala Samarakashna Samithi, an outfit of devotees, has called the protest to protest the Wednesday ‘police lathicharge’ against Lord Ayyappa devotees at Nilackal, the base camp of Lord Ayappa shrine in Sabarimala. 

The BJP and its NDA partners have extended their support to the protest call.

The Congress said it would not join the strike but hold protest demonstrations across the state on Thursday.

Protesters opposing the Supreme Court order allowing the entry of women of menstrual age group into the shrine turned violent at Nilackal and clashed Wednesday and the police resorted to baton-charge.

Antharashtriya Hindu Parishad led by Parvin Togadia has also called for a protest demanding that the CPI-M led LDF government promulgate a law to get around the apex court verdict.

On September 28, a five-judge Constitution bench of the SC, headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine. 

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