Protests that began a day earlier after two women in their 40s entered the Sabarimala Temple turned ugly on Thursday, with attacks being launched against journalists at various locations in the southern Indian State of Kerala, according to the IANS news agency.
#SabarimalaShowdown #Sabarimala protest over women entry turns violent; journalists attacked in Palakkad during protests. India Today's @itsgopikrishnan gets us more on this. #ITVideohttps://t.co/NounxnP7mg pic.twitter.com/GzzkHsnFhs— India Today (@IndiaToday) January 3, 2019
By entering the temple, the women breached its "men only" convention.
The dawn-to-dusk Kerala shutdown saw many protesters directing their anger toward journalists. The media workers staged a protest march in front of the state secretariat to condemn the violence.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also denounced the violence.
"Since yesterday, it has come to notice that even media personnel, including women, have not been spared by Sangh Parivar forces who are trying to take law into their hands. This will be seriously dealt with," Vijayan told national media.
"We have got reports from across the state that around 100 journalists have been attacked. Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Palakkad are the districts where our fellow journalists have been the worst hit," IANS quoted V. Suresh as saying.
"We have collected the visuals of those who have attacked the media and tomorrow we will give it to the police. As a protest, it was decided that the media will boycott the press conference of State BJP President P.S. Sreedharan Pillai and programmes of Sangh Parivar on Thursday," added Suresh.
Kerala Police Chief Loknath Behra sought to assuage the situation and said that police are dealing with these attacks "very seriously", adding that strict action will be taken against the attackers.
"Directions have been issued to all district police chiefs to form a separate committee of police officers to probe these attacks. The intelligence unit has been asked to look into it," he said.
The Sabarimala temple in the southern state of Kerala in India has been a source of tension ever since a few public interest litigants filed a petition challenging the ban on the entry of adult women into the religious site. The apex court ruled in favour of the litigants in September last year, asking the state government to take steps to implement the order.
Following the ruling, Hindu radical groups staged multiple protests to prevent women from entering the shrine of Lord Ayyappa.