A third woman of menstruating age entered the Sabarimala temple in Kerala state on Friday, January 4, according to police. Protests over the most recent entry and that of two other women on Wednesday, January 2, continued throughout the state with reports of violence and vandalism. On Thursday, January 3, protesters in Palakkad vandalized the political party offices of the Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)), and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), along with many stores and vehicles. Police issued a 24-hour ban on public gatherings in the town beginning 23:00 (local time) on Thursday. According to police reports, at least 1700 people were detained across Kerala in relation to violence since Wednesday and 174 people, including 132 security personnel, were injured. Further protests are expected to continue across the state in the coming days.
Two women entered the Sabarimala temple complex on January 2, the first women between the ages of 10 and 50 to enter the shrine to the Hindu god Ayyappan since the Supreme Court overturned a ban on September 28. Since then, ongoing demonstrations have been held across Kerala state 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.
Individuals in Kerala state are advised to monitor updates to the situation, avoid all public demonstrations due to the risk of violence, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, and anticipate transportation disruptions and a heightened security presence in the event of protests.