Three women from Tamil Nadu were arrested by the Kerala police late Monday evening for attempting to enter the Vavar mosque near Sabarimala. The women - identified as Revathy and Susheela Devi from Tiruppur and Gandhimathi from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu - allegedly belong to a Hindu fringe group called the Indu Makkal Katchi or Hindu Makkal Katchi. In a press conference they gave earlier this week, the women announced that they would be visiting the Vavar mosque as they felt that if women could enter the Sabarimala temple, they should also be allowed to enter the mosque.
Along with the women, 3 men from Hindu Makkal Katchi who accompanied them to Kerala as well the driver has been arrested by the Kozhinjambara police. “They wanted to create communal tension. The police knew about their visit to Palakkad and security was tightened at all 7 check posts near the district. The group were finally found and taken into custody at the Vela thavalam check post in Palakkad,” a source told TNM.
The group has been charged under section 153 A of the IPC (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.) and will be presented before the magistrate after the police record their arrest.
“They (the women) had announced that they will enter Vavaru mosque in retaliation for women entering at Sabarimala. Hence they were arrested in the border while trying to enter the state," Kozhinjampara police added.
Vavaru mosque, which is in the trail of the Sabarimala climb is visited by those who climb the hill shrine to pray. The main prayer hall of the mosque is out of bounds for both men and women and pilgrims usually circumambulate the mosque. The women had reportedly expressed their intent to enter and pray at the main hall of the mosque.