The Hosgurd police removed the BJP leaders by force and charged them under Sec 151 of CrPC, which deals with arresting individuals under preventive detention.

Kasargod BJP leaders break into Ayyappa chants in protest at meeting with Devaswom Min
news Sabarimala Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 07:14

There seems to be no end to the confrontations between the Kerala police, protesters and political groups over the unrest at Sabarimala temple. While the crisis started with the Supreme Court’s verdict allowing women of all ages entry into the shrine, it has now cascaded with the Kerala government issuing prohibitory orders in entering Sannidhanam. As part of the on-going protests over this, dramatic scenes unfolded at Kasargod on Tuesday as an impromptu meeting between DevaswomMinister and BJP leaders was underway.   

A few Kasargod BJP leaders, including the district president K Sreekanth, got into a verbal exchange with Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran at the Government Rest House in Kasargod over the ongoing Sabarimala issue. Apparently, when the BJP leaders learned that the Devaswom Minister had reached the Rest House after an event, they went there to met him on Tuesday.

As the meeting was underway, the BJP leaders suddenly started chanting ‘Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa’.

“We are here not to talk about women entry into Sabarimala,” Sreekanth told Devaswom Minister Kadakampally in the presence of the media. “The Kerala government, through the police, is taking away the rights of Sabarimala devotees. Today, the police issued a notice stating that one should neither chant saranams nor give any opinions; this is not right. There should be an opportunity for all to visit Sabarimala and chant as per the traditions,” he said.  

“You must give us the opportunity to chant saranams,” Sreekanth and other leaders started repeating. Soon, as one of the leaders started chanting ‘Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa’, others joined him. The police then removed the BJP leaders by force and moved them to Hosdurg police station in Kasargod.

A Hosdurg police official told TNM, “We took about 15 BJP leaders, who went to the Rest House, under preventive custody. There were no issues or problems; it was merely done as a precautionary measure. They will be held here in the police station probably until the Minister leaves.”

He further said that the 15 BJP leaders have been charged under Sec 151 of the CrPC, which deals with arresting individuals under preventive detention.

UDF and Kerala police

Earlier in the day, around 50 United Democratic Front (UDF) workers and nine MLAs, including former Kerala CM Oommen Chandy and current Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, reached the Nilakkal base camp at Sabarimala hill in order to travel to Pamba. However, they were reportedly told by the police officials stationed there that only the MLAs would be allowed the onward journey to Pamba, and that the others would have to go back. All workers and MLAs then instantly staged a sit-down protest at Nilakkal and started chanting slogans on Tuesday.

What followed was a heated argument, in the presence of the media, by Ramesh Chennithala and his team with Thrissur SP Yatish Chandra, who has been deployed at Sabarimala during the ongoing Mandalam-Makaravilaku season. The gathered protesters began raising slogans such as ‘repeal Section 144’ and ‘police go back’.

“Tell us which pilgrim centre in India has imposed section 144. This is a violation of human rights,” Ramesh Chennithala told Yatish Chandra.

While Yatish initially allowed four MLAs to go to Pampa in their vehicles, after growing protests, he later allowed the UDF leaders and party workers to travel onwards to Pamba. The team then proceeded to Pampa in a KSRTC bus, although they did not go to Sannidhanam, as they “did not want to cause any inconvenience to the devotees”, Ramesh Chennaithala told media persons.

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