A police officer wields his stick against the members of Kerala Students Union (KSU), the student wing of India's main opposition Congress party, outside a police station during a protest in Kochi, India, Jan. 3, 2019.
A police officer wields his stick against the members of Kerala Students Union (KSU), the student wing of India's main opposition Congress party, outside a police station during a protest in Kochi, India, Jan. 3, 2019.

Conservative Hindu groups staged a second day of protests in the southern Indian state of Kerala over two women who entered a Hindu temple in defiance of an ancient ban on women of menstruating age.  

Hundreds of members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party took to the streets Thursday in the state capital, heeding a call by Hindu groups for a statewide strike.

Protests erupted Wednesday after two women, accompanied by local police, entered the Sabarimala temple, defying a centuries-old ban on women of menstruating age from entering the holy shrine.

Hindu devotees are angered by a September ruling from India's Supreme Court that lifted the temple's ban on women between the ages of 10 and 50 from entering Sabarimala. 

Hinduism regards women of childbearing age as unclean, and does not allow them to take part in religious rituals.

The Supreme Court will hear challenges to its ruling later this month.

Child Marriage