As per local newspaper Matrubhumi, over 1400 people have been arrested by the Kerala Police in connection with the protests preventing the entry of women between the age of 10 and 50 years of age at the Sabarimala Temple. Over 258 cases have reportedly been filed too.
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The police have also published photos of more than 200 people involved in the protests and intends to publish more soon. Matrubhumi reports that the photo of a policeman named Ibrahim Kutty of Pathanamthitta AR camp was included by mistake in the list of photos of devotees.
Other media outlets have also reported mass arrests by the Kerala Police in a massive crackdown against devotees of Lord Ayyappa. As per reports, the Police had filed cases against 2000 persons and issued a lookout notice against 210. 71 persons are said to have been taken into custody in Ernakulam, 40 in Kozhikkode and 30 each in Palakkad and Pathanamthitta districts. In addition, 30 people were reportedly arrested at Kozhikode before being let off. All of them allegedly belonged to the Bharatiya Janata Party or other Hindutva outfits.
We have reported earlier that the Kerala government plans to fortify the areas around the Sabarimala Temple with a massive police force to regulate the entry and exit of devotees. It is assumed that it would make it easier for the communists to help the activists desecrate the abode of Lord Ayyappa.
The communist party is facing wide criticism due to its highhandedness in dealing with the devotees of Lord Ayyappa. With the unprecedented numbers of people coming out to support the preservation of temple traditions and maintaining of its sanctity, the Sabarimala issue is now expected to play a significant role in upcoming political maneuvers in Kerala.