On November 18, 69 protesters were arrested for violating section 144, bringing the total number of protesters arrested during the ongoing Makaravilakku season to over 150.

82 people arrested from Sabarimala Sannidhanam for nama japa protest
news Sabarimala Sunday, November 25, 2018 - 09:50

Late on Saturday night, 82 people were arrested from Sabarimala Sannidhanam for conducting nama japa protests (protests involving the chanting of prayers), reports Malayalam Manorama. The protests were reportedly held in two large groups outside Vavar Nada, the shrine of a Muslim deity with close ties to Ayyappa.

The protesters were arrested for gathering there in large numbers for violating prohibitory orders under sec 144, which is in place and will extend until midnight on Monday. Under this section, the assembly of four or more persons remains banned. The protesters were taken to Pamba police station, and reportedly, later granted bail.

Due to the numerous protests and unrest during the ongoing Mandalam-Makaravilaku season, and the previous incidents of violence over women entering the shrine, Pathanamthitta District Collector PB Nooh extended Section 144 in Sabarimala and surrounding areas on Thursday.

The Kerala police had requested the Pathanamthitta Collector to impose section 144 until at least January 14, when the season would end. Meanwhile, various right-wing groups had taken out protests against the imposition of section 144 in the area, while Congress leader and Kerala Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala had written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, asking him to revoke the prohibitory order.

Previously, Section 144 was imposed in the area on November 3, lasting until November 23. Pamba police station had confirmed to TNM that Section 144 was imposed again on Thursday evening and will be in place until midnight on Monday.

On November 18, 69 protesters were arrested from Sabarimala Sannidhanam. This brings the total number of protesters arrested during the ongoing Mandalam-Makaravilakku season to over 150 protestors, including BJP State General Secretary K Surendran.

This year’s Mandalam-Makaravilaku pilgrimage season at Sabarimala has reportedly seen fewer pilgrims than the previous pilgrimages. Speaking to the media on Friday, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said that the violent and fearful environment created by disruptive protesters had contributed to this crisis.

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