A dawn-to-dusk hunger strike by BJP workers began on Tuesday, right in front of Kerala DGP’s office, further intensifying the agitation against the CPI(M)-led LDF government’s crackdown on Sabarimala protesters.
PS Sreedharan Pillai, state president of BJP, claimed that the ruling CPI(M) was on the road to “liquidation” and that the party’s graph was coming down. The strike commenced with marches towards offices of the Superintendent of Police in all district headquarters, protesting against the arrest of Sabarimala devotees by the state government.
BJP also announced that a ‘Rath Yatra’ will begin in order to “save the customs and traditions” of the hill shrine, starting November 8 to 13 – from Kasaragod to Pathanamthitta, where the Sabarimala temple is located.
As per reports, around 529 cases have been registered and over 3,500 people have been arrested with regard to the case of protests against the implementation of the Supreme Court verdict, allowing women of all age groups to enter the Lord Ayyappa temple.
Former Union minister and party’s lone MLA in the state assembly O Rajagopal and Veteran Marxist leader MM Lawrence’s grandson were among the protesters, to name a few. BJP national president Amit Shah, who was in Kerala on October 27, extended his full support to the devotees protesting against the entry of women of all ages into the shrine.
In the light of recent events regarding the Sabarimala case, the temple witnessed high drama when a group of women aged between 10 to 50 years of age were prevented from entering the temple by protesting devotees as it opened for monthly pujas between October 17 and 22.
The Lord Ayyappa temple’s three-month-long pilgrim season is commencing from November 17 and the state government has reiterated that all devotees would be allowed to offer prayers at the shrine. The temple will also open for a day on November 5 for a special puja.