One dead, 15 hurt after women enter flashpoint India temple
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA : One person was killed and at least 15 injured in violence across southern India's Kerala state which broke out after two women defied traditionalists to enter one of Hinduism's holiest temples, police said yesterday.
Clashes broke out across the state after the two women, escorted by police, entered the Sabarimala temple in a pre-dawn operation on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court in September overturned a decades-old ban on women of menstruating age - those between 10 and 50 - setting foot inside the gold-plated temple.
Several women activists have made unsuccessful attempts to reach the temple since the order but faced stiff resistance from thousands of devotees including men and women, who see it as an attack on tradition.
"The person who died was part of a BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) demonstration yesterday and got injured when stones were hurled (at the demonstrators)," Kerala police spokesman Pramod Kumar told AFP.
"His injuries were serious and he died late Wednesday night. At least 15 others were injured across the state.".
Local media reports said the demonstrators from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP were hit by stones from a local office of the state's ruling Communist party.
The police on Wednesday used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon to control clashes between the rival groups, largely conservatives and cadres of the state's ruling left-wing parties.
Journalists were also assaulted during the disturbances in the state's capital, Thiruvananthapuram, and nearby Kollam city.
September's verdict was the latest progressive ruling, with judges overturning bans on gay sex and adultery last year.- AFP