Heavy police as flashpoint Indian shrine reopens

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AFP |

Authorities in southern India deployed 2,300 police on Monday to prevent a repeat of violent clashes last month around one of Hindu’s holiest shrines.

The violence erupted in mid-October when Hindu hardliners blocked women from entering the Sabarimala temple in the southern state of Kerala.

This was despite an order from India’s highest court that females of all ages could enter the site, and not just those below 10 and over 50 years old as before.

This time no women attempted to make it to the temple, media reports showed.

Protesters, including women and children, had massed at the bottom of a hill leading to the shrine, threatening and manhandling a handful of women who attempted to reach the site.

Read more: Indian SC on 20 year old Temple Entry Case: “Once you…

Some 2,000 people were detained and the temple was closed after a few days, as scheduled, but reopened on Monday afternoon until Tuesday evening.

“We have made necessary arrangements for smooth visit of all devotees to the temple. At least 2,300 policemen including 100 female officers have been deployed in the region,” Pramod Kumar, Kerala police spokesman, told AFP.

The violence erupted in mid-October when Hindu hardliners blocked women from entering the Sabarimala temple in the southern state of Kerala.

This time no women attempted to make it to the temple, media reports showed.

Read more: Indian Supreme Court: Temples must allow entry to women of all…

Hindu traditionalists have been emboldened in India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014.

At the same time the Supreme Court has issued a number of liberal rulings in recent months including lifting bans on gay sex and on adultery.

© Agence France-Presse

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