BJP Kerala State General Secretary K Surendran and two other BJP leaders have been remanded into judicial custody on Sunday morning for a period of 14 days by the Pathanamthitta Special Court Magistrate. He reached the Kottarakara sub-jail with the irumudikettu. He was arrested on Saturday evening from Nilakkal in Sabarimala as police officers stationed there, led by Superintendent Yatish Chandra, felt that he would organise protests at Pamba.
He was taken into preventive custody under Sec 151 of the CrPC, which deals with preventive custody to maintain law and order, and taken to Chittaar police station. He has further been charged under IPC 353, which is the non-bailable offence of using criminal force to deter a public servant from doing his duty.
Surendran had argued with the police officers who stopped him from proceeding further at Nilakkal, claiming that he had come to the hill with an irumudikettu (bag of offerings that Sabarimala devotees carry) and had a booked a ticket for darshan, and therefore, came as a devotee. He said that his rights were being violated as the police had stopped him from conducting religious rituals.
Speaking to the media before being taken to the sub-jail, he said, “I am ready to go to jail for a lifetime for Ayyappa. This is a politically motivated move and an act of revenge. CPI(M) is making the police take action against me. What crime did I commit that I am being slapped with non-bailable offences? All I did was try to protect the customs of Sabarimala. I was forcefully taken into police custody at 3 am.”
Surendran added that he has been allowed to keep his irumudikettu in the jail to perform a two-day puja. He had also claimed that he was physically assaulted by the police.
KP Sasikala, the president of the Hindu Aikya Vedi, was also taken into preventive custody at 1.30 am on Saturday after she defied police orders by refusing to leave Pamba without visiting Sabarimala temple. She was granted bail on Saturday by the Sub Divisional Magistrate Court in Thiruvalla. On Saturday, a state-wide hartal was called due to Sasikala's arrest.
In response to K Surendran’s arrest, BJP-led groups in Thiruvananthapuram took out an immediate “nama-japa” protest, or a protest involving the chanting of Ayyppa prayers, and will observe black day”. There are reports of Hindu groups attempting to hold nama-japa protests at areas in or around Sabarimala hill, which police stationed there are repeatedly dispersing.
However, other reports also indicate that the BJP has decided not to call for a hartal as Saturday's hartal resulted in problems for the public, especially devotees in and around Sabarimala who faced difficulties in finding food and other services. Hence, the BJP is reportedly looking at other means of protest instead of calling a hartal over K Surendran's arrest.