Sabarimala pilgrims not extremists, Kannanthanam flays Kerala cops

Dozens arrested around flashpoint Indian temple       	         		Posted

Dozens arrested around flashpoint Indian temple Posted

The protesters were demanding lifting the ban on overnight stay in the temple premises. To further intensify their stir against "police high handedness", a daylong state-wide agitation will be held on Monday by Yuvamorcha, the youth wing of the BJP, its chief said. "We are not against the devotees, but at the same we will not allow anyone to create trouble in the name of the devotees", he added. Section 144 is imposed here for no reason.

Soon after the devotees were arrested, a large number of BJP and RSS workers protested outside the official residence of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Protests against police action were also held in other places, including Kochi, Kollam, Alappuzha, Malappuram and Idukki.

"The police even roughed up my "Irumudi kettu" (a mandatory holy kit to be taken to the temple)". The arrested persons were later taken to a police camp in Maniyar during the early hours of Monday.

Questioning Sasikala's arrest, Kerala state BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai said, "Police should answer - who gave them power to arrest the leaders from Sabarimala?". In Kozhikode, CPI (M) district secretary P Mohanan's son Julius Nikitas and and his wife, who is a reporter with a regional news channel, were roughed up by right-wing goons.

"This is not the way things should be handled".

Shashi Tharoor tweeted about his concern over the pilgrims in Sabarimala. "You can not use force in this place". Even though the AG said security measures were taken according to the directive of the Centre, the court said the state was also responsible in the matter. "I will go around the temple town to make sure how the funds have been used". "There are so many devotees working towards this and stopping other women too", an agitated protester told ANI.

One demonstrator, Raghunathan Nair, said: "What the police has done is wrong".

Surendran, who was taken into preventive custody as he tried to proceed to the temple, was Sunday produced before a magistrate and remanded to 14-day judicial custody after he was charged with non-bailable offences.

Union minister Alphons Kannanthanam on Monday flayed the Kerala Police for clamping prohibitory orders in Sabarimala and nearby areas. "We will continue to walk on the path of dharma", he said.

He compared the state governments action towards the Sabarimala issues with that of Stalin and Mao's rule.

"This government is destroying Sabarimala". The court twice declined to stay the verdict this week.

The Supreme Court will review in open court its own order and would hear 49 petitions challenging the ruling on January 22.

Over 500-odd young women have made online bookings for darshan.

On Friday evening, the temple marked the start of its main two-month-long pilgrimage season, after previously opening for two short stretches in October and November.

Hindu Aikyavedi state President KP Sasikala was arrested by police near Marakkoottam near Sabarimala last night when she was on her way to Sabarimala temple.

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