On Monday, December 10, a protest march staged by activists in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala state, turned violent when demonstrators clashed with local police forces. Police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse crowds after protesters threw stones at the officers. Other demonstrations related to the ongoing Sabarimala temple controversy were held in Kottayam, Kochi, and Kozhikode; they were similarly dispersed by police. Further protests in Thiruvanathapuram and across Kerala are possible in the near term.
On September 28, the Indian Supreme Court overturned a ban on women between the ages of 10 and 50 entering the Sabarimala temple, a Hindu shrine to the god Ayyappan. Since then, ongoing demonstrations have been held across Kerala to protest the decision and prevent women from entering the temple complex. Protests at the temple complex itself have been banned, though demonstrations in other locations, including the town of Sabarimala, have continued.
Sabrimala temple is only open during certain pilgrimages and events; it is currently open from November 16 to December 27 for the Mandala Pooja Mahotsavam Hindu festival.
Individuals in Thiruvanathapuram and other locations in Kerala are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all public demonstration due to the risk of violence, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, and anticipate localized transportation disruptions and a heightened security presence in the event of further demonstrations.
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