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Sabarimala Row: BJP Observes Protests In Kerala, Block Vehicles

Over 500 odd young women have made online bookings for darshan at Sabarimala shrine

Sabarimala Row: BJP Observes Protests In Kerala, Block Vehicles
| File Photo
Sabarimala Row: BJP Observes Protests In Kerala, Block Vehicles
outlookindia.com
2018-11-18T21:00:27+05:30

Kerala on Sunday witnessed protests by BJP against the arrest of the party’s General Secretary K Surendran while on his way to the Sabarimala temple.  

The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the shrine, will file a petition in the Supreme Court  Monday seeking more time to implement the court's Sept 28 verdict allowing women of all ages to offer worship at the shrine, board president A Padmakumar said.

 So far, no women in the 10-50 age group has sought police protection to trek the holy hills, though over 500 odd young women have made online bookings for darshan.

Facing flak over inadequate facilities and severe restrictions for devotees at the temple complex,  Padmakumar also said no unnecessary curbs would be there and  the "small issues" being faced now should be seen as "starting troubles".

Briefing reporters at Thiruvananthapuram after a meeting with DGP Loknath Behara and M V Jayarajan, the Private Secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, he said the devotees would be allowed to perform the "Neyyabhishekam" ritual from 03.15 AM to 1230 PMdaily.

"The police, board or government will not take any step causing hardships to the pilgrims", but police would take action against those coming to Sabarimala with an intention to protest, he said.

More parking facilities and bio-toilets will be provided at Nilackal and Pamba, he said.

Meanwhile, the State Human Rights Commission observed there was gross violation of human rights of the devotees and directed authorities to ensure all necessary basic facilities for them and sought a report within two weeks.

The temple had opened Friday evening for the 64-day annual pilgrimage season as the stand-off continued over entry of menstrual age women into the shrine.

So far, more pilgrims have arrived from other states than from within Kerala.

On the second day of the Malayalam month 'Vrischikom', the pilgrims offered prayers at the shrine early Sunday.

Though the devotees were relieved to get more time for 'darshan' due to less crowd, many were unhappy at not being allowed to spend some more time at the "sannidhanam" (the main temple complex).

   Meanwhile, BJP workers blocked traffic on the national highways for over an hour across the state protesting against the arrest and remand of Surendran. In vatakara, a KSRTC bus was stoned, police said.

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

Condemning the manner in which Surendran was arrested, Union Minister Alphons Kannamthanam said it was "despicable" and described the police action as "condemnable".

"There is need to take a path of consensus on matters relating to Sabarimala, he said in a Facebook post.

Implementing things which were against people's interest had no place in democracy, he said adding the people's verdict was for five years not life long, he said.

CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan alleged the BJP's "agenda" was to create violence.

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