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Sabarimala protest: CM Pinarayi Vijayan blames BJP for violence during hartal

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 3: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan blamed BJP for violence in the state over Sabarimala Temple row. Addressing a press conference amid growing turmoil over the women visiting Sabarimala on Wednesday, the Chief Minister said,''Devotees themselves helped these two women.''

Sabarimala protest: CM Pinarayi Vijayan blames BJP for violence during hartal

He also said that the two women who entered the Sabarimala temple yesterday defying a decades-old ban on women of menstrual age faced no opposition from devotees. The women's entry has led to massive protests across Kerala and a shutdown call by rightwing groups.

The chief minister also said that conducting hartal over women's entry into the shrine was like calling hartal against the Supreme Court's order.

"Such things are to be decided by the Devaswom Board. The action was not only a violation of the Supreme Court's verdict but also against the rules of the board," Vijayan added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Bindu and Kanaka Durga, both in their early 40s, entered the hilltop shrine around 3.45 am on Wednesday, becoming the first to do so since the Supreme Court order on September 28. The women have been kept by the state government at an undisclosed place.

Kerala has been witnessing violent protests since yesterday. A man who was injured during clashes between workers of the ruling CPI(M) and the BJP died late last night.

A total of 79 KSRTC buses were damaged in stone-pelting. Many media personnel, including women, were attacked and 31 policemen were injured.

The BJP and the Congress back the protests and have accused the ruling Left of offending Hindu sentiment by facilitating the women's entry.

Protesters blocked highways and forced shops and markets to shut down on Wednesday in various parts the state. Journalists reporting from outside the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram were allegedly attacked by alleged BJP activists and its youth wing activists.

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