Hindu group calls for shutdown in Kerala against detention of religious leaders

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Thiruvananthapuram (IANS) A Hindu group on Saturday called for a shutdown in Kerala following the "detention" of few religious leaders the previous night from the Sabarimala temple premises.

The most prominent among the detained on Friday night were Hindu Iykavedi (HI) President and senior BJP leader K.P. Sasikala. She was detained while proceeding towards the Lord Ayyappa shrine.

Carrying the customary holy kit 'Irumudi Kettu' on her head, Sasikala was stopped by the police near the temple. She was asked not to proceed any further as the temple had closed at 10 p.m, but Sasikala refused to do so.

She was taken into preventive custody and currently, Sasikala was lodged at the Ranni police station..

Protesting their President's detention, the Hindu Iykavedi leaders called for the shutdown backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party state unit.

Shops and other businesses were forced to down their shutters by HI, BJP and Sangh Parivar activists.

Barring private vehicles, all other public transport vehicles stayed off the roads.

Schools and educational institutions are closed for the day.

State BJP President P.S. Sreedharan Pillai told the media in Kozhikode on Saturday that no one knew the reason why Sasikala was detained.

"Things were now becoming very clear that the Pinarayi Vijayan government here wants to destroy Sabarimala by coming out with rules that will affect the traditions of the temple. Vijayan is using the arrogance associated with the power to achieve their mission and this will be strongly resisted. 

"We are talking with leaders of other states and there will be a huge protest against this, not just here, but everywhere else," said Pillai.

The Sabarimala temple opened its doors at 5 p.m. on Tuesday for two months.

The temple town has witnessed protests by Hindu groups since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the temple that hitherto banned girls and women aged between 10 and 50.

The apex court this week refused to stay its earlier verdict.

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