Kerala BJP protests following senior leaders remand

Kerala BJP protests following senior leaders remand

"Devotees are not terrorists, why do they need 15000 policemen here?" he added.

As per the previous incidents and protests by the devotees at the hill-top shrine, police had imposed the strict restrictions on devotees at Sannidhanam.

Superintendent of police and Sannidhanam special officer Pratheesh Kumar said the protesters were detained for violating Section 144 that prohibits assembly of more than four people at a spot. Therefore, the devotees agitated against the police and demanded to lift the ban on an overnight stay in the temple premises.

Considering a batch of pleas related to various issues concerning Sabarimala, the court orally directed that the devotees who had taken tickets for the "Neyyabhishekam" (ghee offering) rituals should be allowed to stay back at the Sannidhanam and perform the ritual the next morning.

The BJP/RSS and right wing outfits have made it clear that they would not allow any woman in the 10-50 age group to offer prayers at the shrine, where the deity is "Naishtika Brahmachari" (perennial celibate). We are not against it.

Those taken into custody have been brought to the Manniyar police camp and BJP leaders led by Shobha Surendran are holding "nama japam" protest in front of the camp.

The region has been increasingly tense with Hindu organisations and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opposing the Supreme Court order to let women in the temple.

Hindu Aikya Vedi leader KP Sasikala and BJP general secretary K Surendran were refused permission to go to Sannidhanam on 16 and 17 November and arrested as per this move.

The day also saw Union minister Alphons Kannanthanam visiting Nilackal, Pamba and Sannidhanam to take stock of the various facilities at the hill shrine, where lakhs of devotees from across the country and outside visit each year.

Union minister KJ Alphons, who arrived at Nilakkal base camp on Monday, said the situation in Sabarimala is worse than Emergency. She was allowed to go in after the police were assured that she will return after 1 pm and will not speak in any provocative manner nor organize people for protests. Section 144 is imposed for no reason.

"We are exploring all opportunities to expand the protests nationwide", The Indian Express quoted Pillai as saying on Monday.

Asserting that his government was with the devotees, Vijayan said it was being targeted for trying to implement the Supreme Court order permitting entry of all women into the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. Advocate Chandra Uday Singh will be representing the board, TDB president A. Padmakuma said.

"The judgment (September 28) evoked strong response from certain people and political parties which led to severe law and order problems in Kerala and particularly in areas in and around the Sabarimala temple", it said.

The decision was taken after discussion with legal experts and board members, TDB President A Padmakumar told reporters here, a day ahead of the commencement of the two-month long annual pilgrim season.

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