Activist and leader of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena Rahul Easwar, who spearheaded a section of the protest in Sabarimala on Wednesday has been sent to 14 days judicial custody. He was produced before a local court.
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).
Sixteen cases have been filed against a total of 300 people due to the unrest at Sabarimala hill since the temple first opened on Wednesday after the controversial Supreme Court judgement allowing women between 10 and 50 to enter the temple.
Rahul Easwar is currently lodged in Kottarakkara sub jail. He, along with 20 other protestors, were arrested on Wednesday from Nilakkal base camp at Sabarimala hill.
Speaking to Republic channel on Wednesday, Rahul's wife Deepa Vijayan said that Easwar was arrested after he tried to stop three women police officers stationed at Pamba from going towards the temple, claiming that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had claimed there would be no women police officers stationed beyond Pamba entry point. Easwar told ANI that he did not hit anyone, and the arrest was because of a vendetta against him. In a video posted on his YouTube channel on Wednesday, he claimed that he and the others arrested along with him have been accused of actions they did not commit.
After several weeks of inflammatory comments expressing his intention to physically stop women devotees from entering Sabarimala, on Wednesday, Rahul Easwar told the media that they would not forcefully stop anyone and the group would protest peacefully, in a Gandhian manner. However, this did not prove to be true, as the protests around the temple turned violent at numerous points on Wednesday, with women devotees being forcibly turned back and pelted with stones, and women journalists abused, heckled and physically attacked by the demonstrators gathered there.