Hours after the state-wide hartal across Kerala ended, Palakkad District Collector D Balamurali imposed curfew under section 144 in Palakkad town from 10.30 pm on Thursday until 6 pm on Friday. This comes after the district witnessed violent clashes between BJP and CPI (M) members over the course of the dawn-to-dusk hartal on Thursday, announced after two women in their 40s, Bindu Ammini and Kanaka Durga, successfully entered Sabarimala temple early on Wednesday morning.
The notice announcing the curfew in Palakkad stated that there was an apprehension that the â€ślarge-scale violent/undesirable activitiesâ€ť that had taken place â€śamong some cadres of different political outfitsâ€ť would continue into Thursday night and the following day. The District Collector said that the curfew was being imposed to ensure that it does not affect â€śpublic peace and tranquillityâ€ť and cause a Law and Order situation.
Section 144 prohibits the assembly of five or more persons at any public place or thoroughfare; procession or demonstration at public places; and carrying weapons, lathi and explosives.
Clashes all over the state on Thursday, when the Ayyappa Karma Samithi called for a hartal, resulted in the arrest of over 745 individuals, with 628 being taken into preventive custody as well, said The New Indian Express.
Palakkad particularly saw massive clashes on Thursday, with multiple protests turning violent. On Thursday morning, a BJP march beginning at Government Victoria College was cancelled by police after CPI(M), SFI workers and BJP workers began pelting stones at each other before the march even began. BJP workers, while dispersing, vandalised a CPI office near Victoria College.
To protest the stone-pelting and vandalism of their office, the CPI and CPI(M) took out a march the same evening. This, however, turned violent after BJP workers and the CPI, CPI(M) protesters started pelting stones at each other again.
Several other locations, such as Kalamassery, Thrissur, Vadakkara, Mavelikkara, Malappuram, Kasaragod, Nedumangad, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, also saw violent protests between rival political factions on Thursday.
On Wednesday evening, an Ayyappa Karma Samithi worker named Chandran Unnithan was killed in Pandalam during the stone-pelting between rival political factions over the Sabarimala temple womenâ€™s entry issue.