Sabarimala: Kerala’s communist government rewards police officers who arrested devotee KP Sasikala

KP Sasikala's arrest had inspired a statewide Hartal. Devotees had protested against the communist government stopping genuine devotees and trying to escort activists into the temple.

The Communist Kerala government led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a controversial decision has rewarded cops who were involved in the arrest of the devotee and Hindu Aikya Vedi president KP Sasikala during her visit to Sabarimala shrine near Marakootam area on November 16, reported ANI.

According to reports, Kerala police chief Loknath Behera had announced that 10 cops will be rewarded up to Rs.1000 for arresting the Hindu leader Sasikala. The Kerala police had forcefully stopped Hindu devotees including KP Sasikala from entering the shrine by taking them to preventive custody.

“Women police officers were deployed in Sabarimala for the first time. It was the first action that they have effected. It was a good work done by the women police for the first time in Sannidhanam and so the reward is being given. The temple was shut and we had asked Sasikala to return. When she refused, we had to use force and take her into custody,” the official told the media.

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Following the arrest of Sasikala, a statewide hartal was called to protest against her ‘preventive detention’. The strike called by various Hindu organisations and devotees had left thousands of people stranded across the state. The massive protests in Kerala by Hindu devotees had come as a result of the Kerala government trying to stop genuine devotees while allowing activists and non-Hindus to enter the Sabarimala shrine, even escorting them.

However, KP Sasikala took a jibe at the Kerala government and state police chief Loknath Behera saying that she hails the decision to reward the cops as they were deployed at Sabarimala shrine without making even the basic amenities available. She further went on to mock the Kerala police chief saying, “I’m ready to go to Sabarimala again if the DGP will again offer good service entry for blocking me. At least someone will have some use of a retired hand like me.”

The Supreme Court had, in a controversial judgement had ordered to allow women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala shrine against the age-old traditions of not allowing women of reproductive age to enter the shrine.

In the garb of implementing Supreme Court judgement, the Kerala government, with the help of state police force had turned the area near Sabarimala into a war zone after some devotees had clashed with the police. The Kerala police had unleashed violence against Hindu devotees by pelting stones and lathi charging as the situation went out of control.

The Kerala High Court, while hearing a petition seeking to restrict entry of non-Hindus in Sabarimala temple, had expressed its extreme displeasure over the police excesses at the Sabarimala temple. The Kerala High Court while hearing a similar petition in the past had slammed the Communist Kerala government led by Pinarayi Vijayan for its undue obstruction in Sabarimala’s religious affairs and asked the government to restrict itself to providing adequate security to the devotees visiting the shrine.

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