Fresh protests erupted on Sunday night at Sabarimala shrine as thousands of Hindu devotees came together at the Nadapanthal area inside the Sabarimala temple.
Hindu devotees protested against the arbitrary decision of the Kerala police to forcefully remove Lord Ayappa devotees. The communist government reportedly also stopped them from them staying overnight for the pooja.
According to the reports, devotees of the Lord Ayyappa chanted Ayyapa hymns, staged ‘Namjapa’ and protests gathered at Nadapanthal, demanding that the severe restrictions and security should be removed. The Kerala police using force have taken more than 28 people into preventive custody.
UNPRECEDENTED IN HISTORY OF SABARIMALA PILGRIMAGE. Heartbreaking scenes as Kerala police forcibly evict & mass arrest devotees who chanted Swamiye Ayyappa in groups in Sabarimala sannidhanam. They arer accused of flouting prohibitory orders.#SaveSabarimala pic.twitter.com/t6nh8adKzr
— Anjali George (@Kuvalayamala) November 18, 2018
The police had earlier imposed stringent restrictions on devotees at Sannidhanam, denying the devotees to stay overnight, in wake of the early incidents of violence at the hill-top shrine. In a video which has become viral, the Kerala police seem to be using violent methods against the devotees in order to stop them from entering the shrine.
“Section 144 had been declared in the area. We had asked them to disperse after the Harivarasanam but most of them refused,” said Pratheesh Kumar, Superintendent of Police.
Pratheesh Kumar further said that those who have to offer ‘neyyabhishekam’ (anointing deity with ghee) can stay back at the shrine. “They can recite prayers also. We are not against it. The police will assist those who want to offer prayers,” he added.
Protests amplified on Monday across Kerala after police arrested Hindu devotees on Sunday night following a peaceful protest outside the Sabarimala temple in Pathanamthitta district of the state.
The protesters organised hymn chanting protests outside the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s official residence the Cliff House, in Thiruvananthapuram. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and other Hindu organisations have decided to observe a protest on Monday, while leaders of BJP have decided to meet governor P Sathasivam urging him to ensure a peaceful pilgrimage.
In a similar incident yesterday, protests had occurred near the Sabarimala shrine after Kerala police had taken BJP general secretary K Surendran into preventive custody and had forcefully stopped him from entering the shrine. Similarly, Hindu Aikya Vedi state president P Sasikala was also detained by the police at Marakootam.
The arrest of Sasikala had triggered a hartal in the state of Kerala which had led to the disruption of essential services in the state. The devotees accuse the Communist Kerala government of trying to forcefully stop the “genuine devotees” from entering the shrine but allowing activists and women to enter the Sabarimala shrine, even escorting them.
Controversial activist Trupti Desai, who had come to Kochi to visit the Sabarimala shrine but had to return, faced massive protests. After she failed to even leave the airport due to protests, Trupti Desai had announced that she will visit the Sabarimala temple “unannounced” in the future using “Guerilla tactics.
The Sabarimala temple opened on Friday for a two-month long annual pilgrimage season amidst of a heated standoff between the state government and Hindu devotees over the implementation of Supreme Court’s controversial judgement to allow women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala shrine.