|S U M M A R Y|
The CPI-M led government in Kerala is out to destroy Sabarimala Temple and scare away the devotees, if the actions of the Police during the last 24 hours are any indication. Saturday evening saw the arrest of K Surendran, the young leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who has been steadfast in his stance from the beginning that the temple traditions should be protected from the evil designs of the communalists and the Communists.
Surendran was on his way to Sabarimala with the customary Irumudi on his head when a police team blocked him at Kazhakoottam near Thiruvananthapuram, pulled down the Irumudi, arrested him and took him away in the police vehicle, notoriously known as Idivandi (the vehicle for assaulting and murdering people).
Arrest of Surendran comes within 24 hours of the arrest of K P Sasikala, president of Hindu Aikya Vedi, the umbrella organisation of all Hindu outfits in the State. Sasikala was arrested while she too was on the way to the shrine with the Irumudi and was taken to Ranni Police Station where she spent the night singing Ayyappa devotional songs. Various Hindu organisations called for a hartal in Kerala on Satrurday to protest the arrest of Sasikala. The woman leader, a popular speaker was released on bail by the Sub Divisional Magistrate of Thiruvalla on Saturday afternoon.
Even as leaders like Sasikala and Surendran are arrested and detained by the poloce, the government is ensuring the safe passage of activists like Rehana Fatima and Mary Sweety to the shrine. Sweety Mary was prevented by the devotees when she was on her way to the shrine from Chenganoor.
What upset the Ayyappa devotees more was the blatant violation of human rights in arresting devotees who are on their way to the shrine with the traditional Irumudi (the bag containing the offerings to the deity which could be opened only in the sanctum). Moreover, a devotee who is on his way to the shrine with the Irumudi could not be prevented from completing the pilgrimage.
Saturday saw two devotees succumbing to cardiac arrest while on their way to the shrine. The unprecedented police force deployed along the route to the temple and the bandobust at the Sannidhanam has upset many devotees who are experiencing this kind of police guards for the first time in their life. Both the devotees who died on Saturday were below the age of 50 and this adds to the worries of pilgrims.
Elsewhere in Kerala, the CPI-M with the support of Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI), an Islamic extremist organisation specialising in murdering and maiming Hindus have launched a series of assaults on Ayyappa devotees all over Kerala. According to Janam TV, news channel, the entire State has come under the control of CPI-M and SDPI alliance and the assaults are continuing with impunity.
Earlier in the day, the CPI-M Minister Kadakampalli Surendran who is in charge of Devaswam Department, questioned the motive behind Sasikala’s frequent visit to Sabarimala. “This lady, who spits venom, is visiting Sabarimala frequently. Why she should visit the temple twice or thrice every month? She should be taught a lesson,” said Surendran while addressing a press meet at Thiruvananthapuram.
Interestingly, the Kerala journalists who never miss any chance to prevent the BJP and RSS leaders from speaking during press meet sat dumbstruck throughout the press meet of Surendran. They know the repercussions if they ask any question to the minister who is famous for his arrogance and temper.
The evening news bulletins aired by Malayalam TV channels were full of pathetic scenes from Sabarimala and surrounding areas. Overflowing toilets, non-availability of drinking water, and absence of proper sewage system has made Sabarimala a ticking time bomb which may explode with contagious and pandemic diseases anytime now. Health experts are asking devotees to stay off the temple for fear of diseases like cholera, typhoid, jaundice and infectious diseases.
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