Widespread protests in Kerala following arrest of Sabarimala pilgrims at Sannidhanam

Widespread protests in Kerala following arrest of Sabarimala pilgrims at Sannidhanam

The Bharatiya Janata Party youth wing has said that it will organise state-wide protests against police "high-handedness".

BJP leader K Surendran has been remanded by the Pathanamthitta court after he tried to enter the Sabarimala temple despite strong objections from the police.

But a crowd of around 500 people staged a sit-in and prevented her from leaving Kochi airport and late Friday she and several women companions flew back to Mumbai, Indian media reported.

Tens of thousands of pilgrims thronged one of Hinduism's holiest temples in southern India Saturday as it reopened amid high security, but women aged between 10 and 50 were absent despite a court order allowing them to enter. "We had asked them to disperse after the Harivarasanam but majority refused", said Pratheesh Kumar, Superintendent of Police. She also could not hire a taxi to take her from the airport to the shrine. The Minister said that the BJP should not have used the venue meant for important discussions on the city's developmental initiatives for its political protests. "The manner in which she publicised her visit and came is a major problem". Surendran argues that women between the age of 10 to 50 are not supposed to enter the Sabarimala temple as it will break the years-old traditions and custom. "She should be taught a lesson", said Surendran while addressing a press meet at Thiruvananthapuram.

Sabarimala temple: 15,000 police personnel are on duty in and around the Sabarimala temple.

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Kerala had observed a 12-hour hartal against the arrest of Hindu Aikya Vedi president P K Sasikala on Saturday. Accordingly, Sasikala was produced before a sub-divisional magistrate, after which, she was granted bail by the police. The police are shifting protesters under the leadership of Sabarimala CI. Leader of the opposition Ramesh Chennithala described the hartal, which was announced at 3:00 am an 'unpardonable fault.' He accused the BJP and RSS of turning Sabarimala to a haven for anti-social elements.

Meanwhile, the State Human Rights Commission observed there was gross violation of human rights of the devotees, and directed authorities to ensure all necessary basic facilities for them and sought a report within two weeks.

Mr. Kadakampally Surendran said the officer send him video footage from the police station's surveillance cameras. Moreover, a devotee who is on his way to the shrine with the Irumudi could not be prevented from completing the pilgrimage. Desai had earlier vowed that she would visit Sabarimala Temple on November 17.

Prior to her arrival, the activist had written to Vijayan seeking police protection from the time she steps out of the plane at Kochi on Friday till she takes her return flight out of the state.

The Sabarimala temple had opened on Friday for the third time in a month for the two-month long pilgrim season. "The police will assist those who want to offer prayers", he said.

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