Thiruvananthapuram: More than 1,000 people have been arrested in Kerala under a police operation “Broken Window” following shutdown over the entry of two women into the Sabarimala temple as political workers clashed with police and each other across the state.
The shutdown was called after Bindu and Kanakadurga defied the centuries-old tradition and offered prayers at the hilltop shrine to Lord Ayyappa on Wednesday, infuriating the traditionalists. (live updates)
The situation remained tense on Friday as bombs were hurled at the house of Malabar Devasom Board member Sasikumar in Perambra in Kozhikode district early in the morning. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) blamed RSS for the attack.
At least 50 houses of rival parties, primarily Bharatiya Janata Party and CPI(M) workers, were also attacked on Thursday night. In Adoor, 40 houses were attacked.
Kerala State Road Transport Corporation’s managing director Tomin Thachankery said at least 99 were damaged in Thursday’s shutdown. Employees of KSRTC later staged a rally with the damaged buses.
The dawn-to-dusk shutdown called by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi, an umbrella organisation of pro-Hindutva groups, and the Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP), to protest the entry of two women of menstruating into the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday brought the state to a standstill.
Their activists hurled crude bombs and stones as they rampaged through the streets of Kerala, fighting pitched battles with police and political rivals, leaving scores of people injured including three BJP workers in a knife attack, officials said.
They attacked over 20 offices of the ruling CPI(M) and its other Left allies, and clashed with police, leaving at least 31 personnel injured. At least ten journalists were also attacked and the Kerala Union of Working Journalists decided to boycott the press meets called by the BJP. Journalists also staged a protest march.
The state’s police chief Lok Nath Behera said a special team will probe the assault on media.
In Thrissur, three BJP activists were stabbed during a scuffle with workers of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political wing of Popular Front of India, a militant Islamic outfit, police said. The incident occurred when BJP workers attempted to force a restaurant to down the shutters.
A 55-year-old man, who was seriously injured when CPI(M) workers hurled stones at protesters from atop their party office at Pandalam in Pathanamthitta district, died late Wednesday night. He will be cremated on Friday.
However, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said while speaking to reporters that Chandran Unnithan died due to a cardiac arrest. The postmortem examination, however, later confirmed he died from serious head injuries.
Unnithan was part of the protest march taken out by Sabarimala Karma Samithi on Wednesday evening which came under attack by CPI(M) workers. Nine people accused of involvement in the attack have been identified and two of them arrested, police said.
Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs
Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.
“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.
This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.
According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.
Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara
Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.
The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.
“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.
Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha
New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.
With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.
Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.
Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.
However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.
The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.
The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.