The Kerala Police on Saturday evening took BJP General Secretary K Surendran into preventive custody from Nilakkal in Sabarimala. Surendran and other members of the BJP were planning to go to Pamba, but police did not allow them to.
At Nilakkal, Surendran and police officers got into a heated argument as the BJP leader insisted that he wanted to go to the temple. But the police refused permission and said that political leaders will not be allowed as they could organise protests.
Surendran was stopped by a police team led by Superintendent Yatish Chandra. The BJP leader said that he had an irumudikettu and had booked for a pooja at the temple on Sunday. The crowd with the BJP leader chanted "Swamiye Ayyappa", and argued with the police insisting that disallowing a devotee would be a violation of rights. But when the group refused to go back, Surendran was taken into custody. He has been taken into preventive custody under Section 151 of the CrPC (Imminent danger to peace or the likelihood of breach of peace).
An image of the token receipt
Meanwhile, the BJP has decided to protest Surendran's arrest. "He had taken a token for Ganapathi homam for tomorrow (Sunday) morning. He, along with four members, came as a devotee, wearing the irumudikettu. But, at Nilakkal, a police team arrested him and took him to Chittar police station. We are heading there and will strongly protest this," VV Rajesh, BJP state secretary stated, addressing the media.
This move by the police comes on a day when Kerala witnessed a day-long hartal. Right-wing groups had called for a hartal following the arrest of Hindu Aikya Vedi leader KP Sasikala.
KP Sasikala too had told the police that she wanted to go to the temple sannidhanam to worship. But police officials say that BJP, RSS and other Sangh Parivar outfit leaders were going to the sannidhanam to ferment trouble and disallow women of menstruating age from entering the temple. The police had come under criticism a few days ago when visuals of an RSS leader controlling entry at the sannidhanam had come out. KP Sasikala was later released on bail and has stated that she will go to Sabarimala again.