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  India   All India  06 Jan 2019  Sabarimala protests singe BJP, Left leaders’ homes

Sabarimala protests singe BJP, Left leaders’ homes

AGE CORRESPONDENT WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published : Jan 6, 2019, 5:51 am IST
Updated : Jan 6, 2019, 5:51 am IST

Raj Bhavan sources told PTI that the governor, who is now in Chennai, briefed Mr Singh about the situation over phone.

Sabarimala Temple
 Sabarimala Temple

Kannur/Thiruvananthapuram: Parts of northern Kerala, including the politically sensitive regions of Kannur and Palakkad, witnessed violent protests on Friday night and Saturday, with houses of CPI(M) and BJP leaders being attacked and bombs being hurled.  

State police chief Loknath Behera sounded a state-wide alert and gave direction to take stern action against those responsible for the attacks on the houses of party leaders.

Governor Justice P. Sathasivam also briefed the Centre about the law and order situation.

“Briefed Hon’ble Union home minister @HMOIndia Shri. Rajnath Singh about the law and order situation in Kerala in the last two days #kerala,” he tweeted.

Raj Bhavan sources told PTI that the governor, who is now in Chennai, briefed Mr Singh about the situation over phone.

With the state witnessing widespread violence during the 12-hour state-wide shutdown called by Hindu fringe groups on Thursday, Mr Sathasivam had sought an “urgent report” from chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Mr Singh too, on Saturday, sought a report from the state government over the prevailing law and order situation. Asked if he was concerned about the increasing violence in the state, Mr Singh was quoted as saying, “Things should be under control soon.”

The entry of two women of reproductive age into the Lord Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala on Wednesday, the first time since the Supreme Court in September last year lifted the age-linked ban on entry of women devotees, has triggered massive protests in Kerala.

Bombs were hurled at several places, including at the houses of CPI(M) MLA A.N. Shamseer in Madapeedikayil, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP V. Muraleedharan at Vadiyil Peedikia and former Kannur district secretary of CPI(M) P. Sasi at Thalassery past midnight on Friday, police said.

No one was injured in the attacks.

The BJP MP’s ancestral home was attacked hours after bombs were thrown at the homes of Mr Shamseer and Mr Sasi when leaders of the Marxist party and BJP-RSS were attending a peace meeting here.

In other incidents, unidentified people set fire to an office of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Pariyaram area on Saturday morning, a CPI(M) worker was attacked at Perumbara in Iritty in the district Friday, and RSS leader K. Chandrasekharan was assaulted in Thalassery and his house ransacked allegedly by a group of around 25 Marxist workers.

Though the CPI(M) and the BJP-RSS leaders traded charges and blamed each other for the violent attacks, an all-party meet convened by Kannur district collector Mir Muhammed Ali decided to ensure peace in the district. Prominent leaders of BJP and CPM participated in the meeting and decided to end all protest marches in the district for two days.

The attacks mark a return of political violence on a large scale after a gap of over a year in the sensitive district.

Besides Kannur, Perambra in neighbouring Kozhikode, Malappuram and Adoor in Pathanamthitta, where the Ayyappa shrine is located, also witnessed a series of similar attacks and vandalism Friday night and in the early hours of Saturday.

A total of 260 people have been arrested so far in connection with the Kannur violence in the last two days, an official statement said adding patrolling and raids had been intensified across the district.

Police carried out a route march Saturday morning in Thalassery, where 19 people had been arrested and 33 taken into preventive custody.       

CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that the RSS was trying to trigger riots in the state and sabotage peace talks.

The RSS-BJP combine was turning temples and educational institutions managed by into “armouries”, he alleged, adding the ruling party would take the initiative to restore peace in violence-hit areas.

Echoing similar views, CPI(M) Kannur district secretary P. Jayarajan urged the Sangh Parivar forces to end violence.

Countering the charges, the BJP’s V. Muraleedharan said the incidents of violence were the tactics of the ruling CPI(M) to divert attention from the controversies and protests over the violation of the traditional customs at the Sabarimala temple.

“My sister, brother-in-law and their daughter were in the house when the attack took place. Fortunately they were not harmed,” he told PTI from Andhra Pradesh.

So far, over 1,700 people have been arrested in connection with violence in various parts of the state sinc Thursday.

Located in north Kerala, Kannur has been the hotbed of political violence especially between the CPI(M) and BJP and witnessed bloody clashes and killings over the years.

Tags: sabarimala, loknath behera