Kerala shutdown over Sabarimala largely peaceful

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 18 A state-wide shutdown called by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi on Thursday was largely peaceful in Kerala, and saw only few private vehicles plying on the roads.

The dawn-to-dusk shutdown backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance was called against Wednesday's police action on protesters opposing the entry of women in the age group of 10-50 years to the Lord Ayyappa shrine.

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Stray incidents of protesters pelting stones on state-run buses in some parts of Kozhikode, Malappuram and Thiruvanathapuram were reported, prompting the Kerala State Road Transport Corp to suspend operations.

Protesters attacked some shops that were open in the state capital. Most shops and markets, however, remained shut. There was poor attendance at the IT parks here and in Kochi.

Thursday's shutdown call coincided with the "Mahanavami" that saw state and central government offices, banks and educational institutions shut.

Railway passengers bore the worst brunt of the shutdown as they failed to get taxis and public vehicles from the stations.

The temple doors opened for the first time on Wednesday after the Supreme Court's September 28 order allowing women of all ages to enter the shrine.

The protesters, who opposed the entry of women in the 10-50 age group, clashed with the police as the state government tried to enforce the court's decision.

The temple will remain open till October 22.