Sabarimala
Rahul Easwar was arrested on Wednesday and later remanded to 14 days judicial custody.
Rahul Easwar Facebook

Activist Rahul Easwar was arrested in secret as police put him in a tractor and covered him with a tarpaulin, his wife, Deepa Rahul Easwar, claimed in a Facebook live broadcast from Rahul Easwar’s social media account on Friday afternoon. Rahul Easwar was arrested on Wednesday from Sabarimala hill and on Thursday, he was remanded to 14 days judicial custody.

She conducted the live broadcast outside Kottarakara sub-jail, where Rahul Easwar, head of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena, and 20 other activists who were arrested on Wednesday are currently being held. Deepa spoke on social media in the presence of friends and family of Rahul Easwar, including his mother, who had come to visit him in jail that morning. She claims also claims Rahul Easwar is on an indefinite hunger strike, which he is carrying out due to the ongoing Sabarimala unrest.

Rahul Easwar has been charged by Pamba police under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including section 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), read with 149 (member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecuting of common object of the assembly), and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public serving from discharge of duty).

Wearing a black kurta with a paisley print and sweating profusely in the afternoon sun, Deepa said that the manner in which Rahul Easwar was arrested was very dubious, and reiterated Rahul Easwar’s claim that they were arrested for actions they did not commit. “They arrested him from Sannidhanam. We are extremely sad because of the way they arrested him. They arrested him in a very secretive way. They put him in a tractor underneath a tarpaulin. They had no reason to arrest him. He had not created any violence. A woman who came from Andhra Pradesh, Madhavi, reached near Marakkoottam. They are saying that Rahul stopped government officials from doing their duty in this case [and allowing Madhavi to progress further] and have gone ahead and charged him with a non-bailable offence because of this. But Rahul has not committed any such offence. If you look at the footage on any news channel, he was nowhere near Marakkootam or Pamba [at that point of time]. He was at Sannidhanam the whole time. How could Rahul, being at Sannidhanam, obstruct police officers at Marakkootam from doing their job? Someone must ask this.”

She said that the secretive nature of Rahul’s arrest confirms her assertion that he was arrested for actions he did not commit. “The only reason to arrest a person in such a way is that they had no reason to arrest him. Rahul has fought for Sabarimala devotees and their rights for many years. To arrest such a person secretly under a tarp and put him here [in jail] and no media is talking about it, this is not fair. All the violence which took place there took place only after Rahul left that area. Seventeenth afternoon 2 o’clock is only when Rahul was arrested and it was only after that that the violence and stone throwing began, so how is Rahul responsible for violence?”

She continued, “Rahul has not eaten for two days. He is on an indefinite hunger strike for Sabarimala. He would have done this fast if he was at Sabarimala also, now that they have moved him to jail he is going to continue it.”

She concluded by saying that her last point was that those arrested along with Rahul Eashwar were also arrested at Sannidhanam, and that they too had not committed the non-bailable offenses they were charged with.