Kerala: At least 3,178 persons have been arrested in connection with the violence across the state amid the ongoing protests after two women entered the Sabarimala Temple on Wednesday, January 2. A total of 1,286 cases has been registered against 37,979 persons.

Violence escalated in Kerala after a crude bomb was thrown at the residence of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker, V Muraleedharan on Friday night. Following this incident, a similar one took place at a Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) leader AN Shamseer’s residence.

On Friday night, nearly 33 people were taken into preventive detention in connection with violence in Kannur district, and some 110 people were arrested. Since January 2, the police have filed over 800 cases pertaining to violence. While several Hindu outfits called for a state-wide shutdown, Kerala Chief Minster Pinarayi Vijayan has been vocal in backing the Supreme Court ruling and said his government will do everything in its power to follow the Supreme Court order that overturned the ban on entry of women of menstruating age into Lord Ayyappa shrine.

Notably, devotees named Bindu and Kanakdurga, both under the age of 50 years, entered Lord Ayyappa’s shrine on Thursday at 3:30 AM.  The women had tried to offer prayers last week as well but couldn’t do so.

Following the uproar over two women entering the Sabarimala premises, the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) on Friday have sought an explanation from Kantararu Rajeeveru, the temple tantri or the priest, as to why they conducted a “purification ritual” on Wednesday, said a TDB official.

TDB president A Padmakumar said that the tantri would be given 15 days’ time to give his explanation. “The purification ritual is against the directive of the Supreme Court and hence we have asked him to explain. Further action will follow after going through his explanation,” said Padmakumar.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Meenakshi Lekhi alleged that women had entered the Lord Ayyappa shrine disguised as transgenders. Adding that people were transgressing in the name of women rights, Lekhi said the narrative was coming from the people, who “neither understand Hinduism nor do they know the practices of rituals”.