Pathanamthitta district collector PB Nooh on Saturday extended the curfew or the prohibitory orders under section 144 in and around Sabarimala for an additional four days. The latest extended curfew will now be imposed until midnight of December 12, ANI reports. The curfew, which prohibits the assembly of over four people in the area, is in place in Eluvankal, Sabarimala, Sannidhanam, Pamba and Nilakkal.
Onmanorama reports that police had earlier written to the Pathanamthitta district collector requesting to impose the curfew until January 14, when the Mandala-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season ends. They cited law and order issues and the numerous protests that have sprung up in various parts of the shrine after the Supreme Court permitted women's entry to the temple. The district collector has been extending the curfew in four day increments.
On Saturday, the Kerala police arrested Kerala BJP Vice-President N Shivarajan and other BJP leaders for violating the imposed curfew at Nilakkal at Sabarimala. Many groups have been protesting the imposition of curfew at Sabarimala, including BJP leader AN Radhakrishnan, who is on hunger strike demanding the same.
Onmanorama reports that three UDF leaders are also on hunger strike demanding the rolling back of section 144 in the area. The UDF has also been boycotting the Kerala Legislative Assembly sessions, launching a â€śsatyagrahaâ€ť outside the Assembly hall in order to register their protest against the curfew at Sabarimala. On 27 November, the UDF had announced that they would continue their protests within and outside the Assembly until section 144 was lifted from Sabarimala.
Meanwhile, as reported by National Herald on November 27, the Kerala High Court passed an order allowing the imposition of section 144 in Sabarimala, observing that the temple should not become a site for protests, demonstrations and dharnas, and that while devotees should be allowed to chant mantras there, it shouldnâ€™t be used as a front to carry out protests.