Nilakkal, November 17: Kerala police on Saturday arrested Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) K Surendran while he was on his way to Sabarimala temple to perform Neyyabhishekam ritual. Cops advised K Surendran to go back when he arrived at Nilakkal to visit Sabarimala temple. However, the BJP leader was adamant, following which the police arrested him.
On Friday, the police took Hindu Iykavedi chief and senior BJP leader K P Sasikala and other religious leaders into preventive detention from the Sabarimala temple premises. Following the detention, the Hindu group with the support of the state BJP called for a 12-hour shutdown in Kerala today. All were granted bail earlier today. Sabarimala Row: BJP Is Seeking Political Gains by Turning the Temple Into a ‘War Zone’, Says Kadakampally Surendran.
Devotees of Lord Ayyappa on Saturday began the trek from Pamba to Sabarimala temple. The temple reopened on Friday for a 62-day long Mandala Pooja-Magaravilaku annual pilgrimage season. This is the third time that the temple has opened after the Supreme Court lifted restrictions on the entry of women into the shrine. History of Sabarimala: Why Women Weren't Allowed Into The Lord Ayyappa Shrine.
Sabarimala temple and its surrounding areas witnessed massive protests since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the temple that hitherto banned girls and women aged between 10 and 50. The apex court is slated to hear petitions seeking review of its order in January, but has refused to stay it.
The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the shrine, has made it clear that it would approach the apex court seeking more time to implement its order. (With agency inputs)