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Kerala wakes up to face Aikya Vedi's flash hartal

The Hindu Aikya Vedi and Sabarimala Karma Samithi have called a dawn-to-dusk flash hartal across Kerala on Saturday to protest the arrest of K P Sasikala in Pathanamthitta on Friday night.

The two organisations are spear-heading the protests against implementation of Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to visit Ayyappa Temple and Ms. Sasikala is the president of Hindu Aikya Vedi.

Here are the updates:

Slow start in Kochi

Large sections of the populace in the city woke up with no idea about the hartal. Earlier in the day, many private and KSRTC buses operated as usual while many shops and petrol pumps were opened. As news of the hartal spread, private buses were taken off the road and already opened shops downed the shutters.

Police said that no untoward incidents have been reported across the rural and city limits though Sangh Parivar outfits have scheduled protest marches to the offices of the District Police Chief (Rural) and City Police Commissioner later in the day.

Hartal hits pilgrims’ passage to Sabarimala

Ayyappa devotees waiting for bus at Thampanoor bus station in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday. Most buses stayed off the roads due to hartal.

Ayyappa devotees waiting for bus at Thampanoor bus station in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday. Most buses stayed off the roads due to hartal.
 
| Photo Credit: C Ratheesh kumar

 

The day-long hartal started affecting the pilgrim flow to Sabarimala on Saturday. Many pilgrims, especially those from other States were left stranded as buses, autorickshaws and cabs weren’t plying.

Adding to the woes were unprecedented restrictions from police personnel in the wake of ongoing ‘Save Sabarimala’ campaign. For the first time in the history of Sabarimala, police used lathis for regulating Ayyappa devotees.

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Flash hartal affects normal life across Kerala

The state-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal affected bus services, inconveniencing commuters. Groups of hartal supporters were out on the roads by early morning forcing hotels and tea shops to down their shutters. Commuters who arrived by train were stranded at railway stations as taxis and autorickshaws refused to ply.

Sporadic incidents of stone-throwing were reported from Thiruvananthapuram.

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