BJP State General Secretary K Surendran has alleged that Kerala state police manhandled him and desecrated his irumudikettu (bag of holy offerings carried by Sabarimala devotees). Chittar police and Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran have however refuted these statements and provided video footage of what transpired.
K Surendran was arrested from Nilakkal on Sabarimala hill on Saturday evening, after police stationed there stopped him from proceeding further. He was taken into preventive custody, and charged with disobeying the orders of a public officer. The Pathanamthitta Special Magistrate sentenced him to 14 days judicial custody on Sunday morning.
When he was being taken from Chittar police station to the house of the Pathanamthitta Special Magistrate, K Surendran told reporters, “The police didn’t give me a drop of water, they did not allow me to eat my medicine, they threw my irumudikettu on the ground and stepped on it.”
The BJP’s National Information and Technology Head Amit Malaviya also tweeted in support of K Surendran, claiming that Kerala police had “arrested and manhandled” Surendran and six others, with the police causing Surendran’s irumudikettu to be smashed on the ground.
Kerala cops arrest and manhandle BJP state General Secretary K Surendran, Thrissur District President and six others. Their Irumudi, sacred offering to Lord Ayyappa, smashed in the scuffle. Is being an office bearer of the BJP and a Ayyappa devotee crime? #SaveSabarimalaTradition pic.twitter.com/zlYO8gZBZg— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) November 18, 2018
However, when asked about Surendran’s allegations, Chittar Police Inspector MG Sabu refuted them strongly to TNM. “What he has said is all lies. He took his irumudikettu and threw it on the ground. The CCTV footage has also been released. It was the Superintendent of Police who picked it up and gave it back to him. He threw it on the ground twice.”
When asked about the other allegations made by Surendran about being denied food and medicine, Sabu told TNM, “He was treated as a VIP [in the station]. He was sitting on a cushioned chair in the Station House Officer (SHO)’s office. He used his insulin, he was given water and food, there is CCTV footage of him eating. CCTV footage will not lie, will it?”
Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran posted the CCTV footage from the police station that shows what took place as Surendran was being led out of the station. From another piece of mobile footage also posted by the minister, it is clear that the irumudiketu fell down twice and Surendran himself was holding it. The police officers are seen around Surendran, but none of them can be seen touching the irumudiketu. In fact, Surendran's actions that are visible on the footage, negates the accusations he had raised.
Speaking to reporters in Thiruvanathapuram, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran firmly denounced BJP’s K Surendran’s actions, and made further allegations about Surendran’s religiosity. “What kind of a person is he? When I asked about [the irumudikettu], the Chittar police said Surendran himself took it down from his shoulder and put it on the ground. Will anyone step on an irumudikettu? What dirty, insulting lies. This RSS-BJP Sangam will stop at nothing to play their political games.”
Kadakampally also accused K Surendran of breaking a religious tradition by visiting Sabarimala four months after the death of his mother. “When I enquired recently, I found out, Surendran’s mother had passed away on July 5, 2018. True believers enter a temple like Sabarimala at least one year after the death of such a close blood relative. For that year, there is a prohibition in entering the temple’s sannidhanam. Only after that period do believers enter the temple. It has not even been four months since his mother’s death. He does not live by any beliefs and traditions. He is only politically motivated.”