Even as political tensions came to the fore in Kerala following the entry of two women into Sabarimala on Wednesday in keeping with the Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict, its repercussion were felt in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, where a gang of miscreants attacked a hotel belonging to the Kerala Tourism Department.
According to the police, a gang of eight to 10 people arrived outside the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation’s Kerala House hotel in Chennai’s Thousand Lights area on Wednesday at 8.45 pm. Having entered the premises, they smashed the window panes of the hotel. Six members of the violent gang have been arrested. Police investigations have revealed that the members belonged to the right-wing Hindu Munnani political outfit.
Speaking to TNM, one police officer said that the Hindu Munnani members were arrested and remanded on charges of criminal intimidation, damaging public property and using filthy language.
Popularly known as ‘Kerala Bhavan’, the hotel on the busy Greams Road, owned by the Kerala government, was reportedly attacked with sticks and stones. Following the attacks, police were deployed across Kerala government establishments in the city, including at the Kerala House.
The attacks by Hindutva groups came on the day that two women below the age of 50 – Bindu and Kanakadurga – entered Sabarimala, months after the Supreme Court verdict allowed women of all ages entry into the temple. While dozens of women had attempted to scale the hill shrine late last year following the verdict, they were turned away by the police, citing protests by Hindutva groups. This made Bindu and Kanakadurga’s entry to the temple the first after the constitutional right accorded by the apex court.
The Sabarimala Karma Samithi called for a dawn to dusk hartal in the state on Thursday, and there were violent clashes across the state between supporters of the hartal and those opposing it. Journalists doing their job were also attacked by the protesting groups.