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Clashes erupt in India's southern state after women try to enter shrine

(Xinhua)    14:46, January 04, 2019

NEW DELHI, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Situation in India's southern state of Kerala turned violent and tense as women continued to force their entry into a holy shrine where they were normally barred as per local traditions and customs.

According to media reports, more than 700 people have been arrested and over 100 injured in clashes in several parts of the state on Thursday among different groups of people who support or oppose women's entry into Sabarimala temple.

As per the customs and traditions of the shrine, women were barred from entering the shrine amidst the belief that they are "impure" as they menstruate.

A couple of months ago the country's apex court allowed women to enter into the shrine, triggering controversy as the court verdict went "against" local traditions and beliefs.

Citing "gender equality," the court lifted the ban of women's entry saying that biological reasons should not be considered for the continuation of the age-old tradition.

One person was reportedly killed in incidents of stone-pelting, as several houses, government buildings and buses were damaged by violent protesters. As a precautionary measure, educational institutions have been shut in the affected areas and the ongoing examinations postponed, English daily The Times of India reported on Friday.

Reacting to the situation, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reportedly said that it was a "politically created" violence and an attempt to sabotage the apex court's verdict.

On Thursday night a woman reportedly jumped over the walls of the shrine along with her husband and entered into its premises. On Jan. 2 two women had also entered the temple resulting in protests across the state.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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