Hindu hard-liners paralyze Indian state over women at shrine

NEW DELHI (AP) — Hindu hard-liners have shut shops and businesses in a southern state to protest the entry of two women in one of India’s largest Hindu pilgrimage sites.

Supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party held protest marches in Kerala state on Thursday as part of a strike call.

Women of menstruating age were forbidden to pray at the temple until the Supreme Court lifted the ban in September.

Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala’s top official, accused the BJP of triggering violence on Wednesday when police fired tear gas at several places to disperse stone-throwing mobs protesting the women’s entry.

Some devotees have filed a petition saying the court decision revoking the ban was an affront to celibate deity Ayyappa.

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