Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Thursday that the two women who entered Sabarimala Temple on Wednesday faced no opposition from devotees.
Vijayan said the two women were not "airdropped" to Sabarimala but went as normal devotees and the other pilgrims did not protest.
"Kanakadurga and Bindu were given protection after they sought security to visit the shrine. They were not airdropped. They visited shrine like normal devotees. None of the devotees protested," he told reporters during a press conference.
He said that it is government's responsibility to give protection to women and the government has fulfilled this constitutional responsibility.
The women’s entry had led to protests across Kerala and a shutdown was called by rightwing activists.
The chief minister also said that conducting hartal over women's entry into the shrine was like calling hartal against the Supreme Court's order.
Coming down heavily on the chief priest's action of closing the temple for purification ceremony, Vijayan said this was against the top court's verdict.
"Such things are to be decided by the Devaswom Board. The action was not only a violation of the Supreme Court's verdict but also against the rules of the board," Vijayan added.
Vijayan also hit out at the BJP and the RSS and said the “Sangh Parivar is trying to make Sabarimala into a clash zone,” adding that the violence unleashed by them will be dealt with strongly.
In the protests since Wednesday, a 55-year-old man who was injured during clashes between BJP and CPI(M) workers succumbed to his injuries. Several Hindu right-wing activists blocked highways and forced closure of shops and markets.
Thursday’s protest has been called by Sabarimala Karma Samithi, an umbrella organisation of various pro-Hindutva groups, spearheading protests against the Supreme Court's September 28 verdict, and Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP).
The BJP is supporting the shutdown while the Congress-led UDF is observing a "black day".
Two women, Kanakadurga (44) and Bindu (42), scripted history by entering the hill shrine three months after the Supreme Court's historic judgement lifting the ban on entry of girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age into the shrine of Lord Ayyappa, its "eternally celibate" deity.
(With inputs from agencies)