National highways in Kerala were blocked in Kochi, Kottayam and Palakkad.

Widespread protests in Kerala after BJP leader K Surendrans arrest
news Sabarimala Sunday, November 18, 2018 - 15:20

Kerala on Sunday witnessed widespread BJP-led protests after state BJP General Secretary K Surendran was sent to 14-days judicial custody on Sunday morning. Surendran is currently being held at Kottarakara sub-jail.

Observing black day or a day of protest on Sunday, which commenced at 10 am, the BJP in Kerala took out protests in various locations across the state, including MC Road at Kottarakara, Vytilla in Kochi, numerous locations in Kozhikode, including Thamarassery, Balussery and Vadakara, Kottayam, Attingal, the overbridge near East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram, Venjaramoodu, Kattakad and Palakkad. National highways were blocked in Kochi, Kottayam and Palakkad.

The BJP also conducted a protest in Thiruvananthapuram against the delay of KSRTC buses carrying devotees to Pamba. Reports say that as per a directive from the police department, the KSRTC started bus services to Erumely and Nilakkal to Pamba only after 11 am. BJP workers gathered at Thampanoor bus stand to protest the delay, which caused further delays in the operations. They called off the protest once bus services resumed.

A meeting held by the Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran at the Municipality Corporation in Thiruvananthapuram was also disrupted by BJP-led protesters, who were carrying black flags.

At 4 PM on Sunday, Kerala BJP president Sreedharan Pillai and senior leader O Rajagopal will lead a protest starting from KSRTC bus stand in Pathanamthitta. Kerala BJP will protest the arbitrary arrest of devotees who come to visit Ayyappa as well as the lack of basic facilities for those arriving at the temple.

This protest comes a day after a the dawn-to-dusk state-wide hartal called by the Hindu Aikya Vedi and Sabarimala Karma Samithi to protest the arrest of KP Sasikala, Hindu Aikya Vedi president. She was taken into preventive custody on Saturday after she defied police orders by refusing to leave Pamba without visiting Sabarimala temple.

According to reports, the BJP had decided not to call for a hartal as Saturday's hartal created problems for the public, especially devotees in and around Sabarimala, who faced difficulties in finding food and other services. Hence, the BJP has been reportedly resorting to other means of protest instead of calling a hartal over K Surendran's arrest.

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