Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan expressed his support for police officer Yatish Chandra and the entire police force deployed at Sabarimala in a press meet on Friday. Speaking on the altercation between Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan and SP Yatish Chandra over allowing private vehicles to Pamba, the CM said that the police officer merely conveyed his response with due respect for the Union Minister.
â€śBetween Nilakkal and Pamba, KSRTC buses ply and devotees travel in them. This is allowed by the High Court also. The Union Minister is a VVIP and will be facilitated to go to Pamba in his vehicle. He took a stance demanding that others in his group, too, be allowed in their private vehicles. The police had to take an opposing stance, and this was conveyed to the minister with all due respect and acknowledgement of his status as a minister,â€ť the CM said
He added that it was only the media that alleged that the officerâ€™s response was arrogant or critical of the Union Minister.
Announcing that restrictions in and around the temple have been removed by the government, the CM said that the police and government were in no way blocking the visit of real devotees.
â€śThe HC has said that true devotees who come to pray at the temple should be allowed to visit in groups or individually. Their vehicle movements should not be hindered. At the same time, action taken against those stirring unrest at the temple should not affect devotees. This is what the government is doing,â€ť he said.
The CM further backed his police force by reading out the 14-page HC verdict regarding restrictions at the temple. He said that nowhere in the judgement was there personal criticism against a particular police officer.
â€śNowhere have we stopped devotees from chanting sharanam. This is there in the report presented by the IG in charge,â€ť the CM said.
Sabarimala witnessed high drama on Wednesday, when Minister of State for Finance, and Shipping, Pon Radhakrishnan came face to face with SP Yatish Chandra and had an altercation over allowing private vehicles past Nilakkal. While the SP said that only the ministerâ€™s car would be allowed in and not the cars of the people he had come with, the minister insisted that the vehicles be allowed. Eventually the union minister took a KSRTC bus along with the others as a sign of protest, as he did not want privileges that the other devotees couldnâ€™t enjoy. At the sannidhanam, he also declined to use any government facilities including the state guest house, and rested in the Ayyappa Seva Samajam office instead. The group descended the hill by 11 pm on the same day after participating in a small Nama Japa protest against the restrictions at the temple.