Devotees Detained Outside Sabarimala Temple After Overnight Clashes

70 Devotees Detained Outside Sabarimala Temple After Overnight Clashes

"It is sad that Lord Ayyappa had become [the centre] of a controversy, but he will be here with us every step of the way", said Bhagyalakshmi, a 62-year-old devotee who uses only one name. "The government can not let anyone create trouble at Sabarimala", the chief minister said at the state conference of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ).

Union minister K.J. Alphons is scheduled to visit the Sabarimala temple on Monday.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said both the BJP and the Left Democratic Front government were trying to make Sabarimala a war zone. "The devotees are not militants, they are pilgrims".

"Pilgrims are being treated like dacoits".

Even though the advocate general (AG) informed the court that the police had initiated action against those who had violated section 144, CrPC that prohibited the assembly of more than four persons at a spot, the court expressed its displeasure over the manner in which the devotees were dealt with.

"Section 144 had been declared in the area".

The minister said there was lack of basic facilities at the temple complex, adding the Centre had provided Rs 100 crore for putting up various facilities at Sabarimala. "We are being threatened that our cars will also be vandalised", Desai said told News18.

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Surendran was taken into custody on Saturday night after he got into a scuffle with the police while attempting to go to the Sabarimala temple despite police cordon in the area. However, Desai declined to reveal her final plans for the time being. At Friday's protest at Kochi airport, several state BJP leaders delivered speeches.

On Saturday, to reach the temple, devotees braved bus delays and a call by right-wing Hindu groups to close all roads, shops and businesses.

Talking to newspersons at Pathanamthitta, BJP Kerala President PS Sreedharan Pillai said the Union Minister will be accompanied by a few MLAs from outside Kerala. "Police tried to evacuate us from another gate but protesters were there as well".

After spending the night at Chittar police station, Surendran was produced before a magistrate near here on Sunday morning which remanded him to a 14-day judicial custody. He said that the hill shrine was under the "police raj" and the police was denying devotees the right to exercise their religious beliefs.

On Friday, the police took Hindu Iykavedi chief and senior BJP leader K P Sasikala and other religious leaders into preventive detention from the Sabarimala temple premises. She was asked not to proceed any further as the temple had closed at 10 p.m, but Sasikala refused to do so.

"I fail to understand why the Kerala Police has clamped prohibitory orders". This time, over 15,000 personnel, including women police personnel and 860 women civil police officers, were deployed.

The temple had opened Friday evening for the 64-day annual pilgrimage season as the stand-off continued over entry of menstrual age women into the shrine following a Supreme Court order on September 28.