Kerala protests as 68 Sabarimala pilgrims arrested

Hannah Rogers
November 21, 2018

At a function in Kozhikode, he said that those arrested were not the devotees of Lord Ayyappa. "The devotees are not militants, they are pilgrims".

Speaking to the media at Nilackal, Alphons on Monday said: "I fail to understand why the Kerala Police has clamped prohibitory orders". It is submitted that calamitous floods in August damaged and destroyed the infrastructure at Pampa and its surrounding areas which is the base camp of the pilgrimage for the devotees of Lord Ayyappa.

"Pilgrims are being treated like dacoits". Section 144 is imposed for no reason. The BJP leadership in the state also supported the bandh. "The Council has also directed the Ernakulam Central Muslim Jama'ath to expel her and her family from the membership of Mahallu", a statement by Council president A Pookunju said.

On Sunday night, the fresh protest was broke out at the shrine where hundreds of devotees protested against the restrictions of Police. Sabarimala has since become a showdown issue for gender activists and Hindu hardliners.

"We arrested 68 devotees after overnight protests around Sabarimala", V.N Saji, assistant commissioner of Kerala police, told AFP.

The activists also took out a march to the state secretariat in Thirvananthapuram.

P C George MLA, a politician who is against BJP and RSS, comes out in the open and declares that the CPI-M government is attacking Hindu devotees to scare them away from Sabarimala.

Shops and other businesses were forced to down their shutters by HI, BJP and Sangh Parivar activists. The BJP extended its support to the hartal. It states that the judgment has evoked strong response from "certain people and political parties which has led to severe law and order problems in the State, particularly in and around the temple".

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When they refused to leave, the police tried to take the leaders into custody.

When the police team told him that he can not go towards the Pamba base camp and to the temple at night, he resisted and was taken into custody. On the other hand, Trupti Desai said she won't return without visiting the temple.

Sasikala had been taken into preventive custody from near the temple premises two days ago for flouting police regulations and had been released after being produced before the magistrate.

Surendran is the party general secretary.

"Police should answer that who gave them power to arrest the leaders from Sabarimala", asked Sreedharan Pillai.

Since prohibitory orders had been imposed, police informed them that they should leave and can not stay back. As a precautioned measure, heavy police personnel have been deployed.

Citing lack of basic amenities, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the temple, moved the Supreme Court seeking more time to implement its September 28 verdict allowing women of all age groups to pray at the hill shrine.

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