Sabarimala: Over 70 pilgrims have been arrested since late last night from Sabarimala temple after they failed to comply to prohibitory orders leading to protests here and across Kerala, police said on Monday. While angry Hindu acitivists took to streets, raised slogans and held prayer sessions in front of police stations across the state, Union Minister K.J. Alphons criticized the state government for the action. As news spread about the arrests, in Thiruvanathapuram protesters assembled near Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s residence and shouted slogans.
The situation grew tense late Sunday, when over 200 pilgrims did not vacate the temple premise after 10 p.m., as ordered by the state administration and stayed put, singing Lord Ayyappa hymns and chants. As they continued despite repeated requests from the police, action was initiated to forcefully evict the premise. This led to 72 arrests in a post-midnight action. They were taken to the Maniar Police Camp in Pathanamthitta district and were to be produced before a court later Monday, Superintendent of Police Prathish Kumar said.
Kerala Minister for Devasoms (Temples) Kadakampally Surendran reacting sharply to the allegations said it was not pilgrims but Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) goons who had taken over the Lord Ayyappa shrine and backed the action. “ Toilets are placed five feet above the ground and it appears one needs a lift to go to the toilet,” said Alphons. Medical check up is being done on the 72 arrested people at the Maniar Police Camp in Pathanamthitta district and after it’s over they will be produced before a court, near here. (IANS)
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