Sabarimala hartal cuts off Coimbatore from Kerala

Hindu Makkal Katchi threatens to picket the house of the Kerala Governor at Bhavani

The dawn-to-dusk hartal on Thursday, called by the Sabarimala Karma Samiti in Kerala to protest against the entry of two women of menstruating age into the Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala, hit movement of vehicles between Coimbatore and various parts of the neighbouring State.

Inter-state services of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) were suspended from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Private vehicles and trucks carrying various goods to Kerala did not operate during the hartal.

Passengers were stranded at Ukkadam bus stand from where KSRTC and TNSTC ran services to Palakkad. Services to Kerala from the Thiruvalluvar bus stand at Gandhipuram were also cancelled. KSRTC and the State Express Transport Corporation of Tamil Nadu operate services from the Thiruvalluvar stand to Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pampa, Thrissur, Guruvayur, Ernakulam and Kozhikode.

KSRTC and TNSTC buses from Coimbatore to Kerala via Aniakatti and Walayar also stayed off roads. With bus services hit, passengers, including Sabarimala pilgrims, depended on trains to Kerala from Coimbatore.

Lawyers stage demonstration

A section of lawyers staged a demonstration in front of the Combined Court Complex condemning the entry of two young women into the Sabarimala temple. They set fire to the photos of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the two women, and raised slogans against Mr. Vijayan.

Protests

As many as 85 members of the Hindu Makkal Katchi were removed by police as they attempted a rail blockade at Coimbatore railway station in support of the hartal in Kerala. A few members of the Hanuman Sena staged a protest in front of the Coimbatore Collectorate.

In Erode, members of the Hindu Makkal Katchi staged a demonstration, stating that the entry into Sabarimala temple by the women had hurt the sentiments of lakhs of devotees from many States.

The protesters said they would picket the house of the Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam at Bhavani in Erode district, to condemn the Kerala Government’s support to the women.

Members of Bharatiya Janata Party also staged a protest at Veerappanchatram bus stand.

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