Sabarimala row: BJP leaders arrested

Protesters oppose the entry of women to the Sabarimala Temple, Kerala, on Friday. PTI

BJP leaders were on Saturday arrested after they staged a protest at the Sabarimala base camp of Nilakkal, in connection with the implementation of the Supreme Court verdict allowing the entry young women to the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple.

A N Radhakrishnan and J R Padmakumar were arrested for defying prohibitory orders imposed in the area. Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed in seven areas including Nilakkal till October 22, the day the shrine closes after the monthly pujas. The leaders were later released.

The BJP has continued to back protests by devotees against the entry of women of all ages to the temple. More than 10 activists affiliated to Sangh Parivar outfits were detained at Nilakkal and Pampa on Friday for staging protests in defiance of the prohibitory orders.

On Saturday, police intensified checks on vehicles including KSRTC buses to Nilakkal and Pampa. The stand-off on Sabarimala has also set off a bitter face-off involving the ruling CPM and the Opposition Congress and the BJP.

Veteran Congress leader A K Antony said the state government could have avoided the clashes in Sabarimala by making a commitment on filing a review petition against the Supreme Court judgement.

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which manages the administration of the temple is set to file a status report on developments in Sabarimala at the apex court but is still non-committal on filing a review plea.

Kerala Congress (M) leader K M Mani urged the state government to call an all-party meeting to ensure calm during the ensuing mandalam pilgrimage season at the shrine which commences on November 16.

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Sabarimala row: BJP leaders arrested

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