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States » South

Hartal begins in Kerala

Hartal begins in Kerala

Sabarimala, Nov 17 (UNI) A dawn-to-dusk hartal began across Kerala on Saturday in protest against the arrest of Hindu Aikya Vedi President KP Sasikala Teacher at midnight on Friday.

The Sabarimala Karma Samithi and the Hindu Aikya Vedi have jointly called for the state-wide hartal against the arrest of several leaders of Hindu organizations who were conducting agitations against the implementation of September 28 Supreme Court Verdict allowing women between 10 and 50 years into Ayyappa temple.

BJP-led National Democratic Front (NDA) had also extended their support to the hartal.

Essential services like milk, newspapers, hospitals and medical shops have been exempted from the hartal.

Sasikala Teacher, was arrested from Marakkuttam, a few kilometres away from Sannidanam, the abode of Lord Ayyapa.

"Police took her to an unknown destination. Before the arrest she was stopped more than five hours at Marakkuttam from trekking into Sannidanam. During that time, she was even denied washroom facility," her supporters said here on Saturday.

Earlier, Sabarimala Achara Samrakshana Samiti Convenor Prithipal was arrested from Pampa soon after his completion of a channel discussion in Janam TV.

Hindu Aikya Vedi State Secretary Bhargava Ram and BJP SC Morcha State President P Sudhir were also arrested from Pamba last night.

Reacting to the incidents, the police said they were under preventive custody to avoid untoward incidents at Sannidhanam, the abode of Lord Ayyappa.

Meanwhile, the BJP party sources said several district level leaders in Idukki were taken into custody on Friday for unknown reasons.

The police also stopped the Managing Director of Janmabhumi Daily M Radhakrishnan, the mouth piece of Sangh Parivar organization, at Marakkuttam. Mr Radhakrishnan and his daughter Bhavani were here for Darshan of Lord Ayyappa in the early hours on Saturday.

Sources said the police stopped the MD and his daughter from trekking along with the supporters of Sabarimala Karma Samiti. Later, they were allowed to proceed to Sannidanam.

Meanwhile, police registered cases against 250 persons for staging a protest at Cochin International

Airport in connection with the arrival of activist Trupti Desai on Friday.

Reports said devotees also staged a protest outside the Mumbai Airport last night during her return to Pune from Kochi.

Ayyappa devotees staged a protest march at the house of Trupti Desai in Pune on Friday in protest against her visit to Kerala to break the centuries old customs and traditions in Sabarimala temple.

The temple was opened last evening for a two month long annual Mandala-Makaravilakku festival which begins from today.

UNI DS CS 0740

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