Sabarimala: Women entry-supporter's ashram attacked

Sabarimala: Women entry-supporter's ashram attacked

Swami Sandeepananda Giri and the charred vehicles in front of the ashram. (Courtesy: Facebook)

The ashram of Swami Sandeepananda Giri – director of the Thiruvananthapuram-based School of Bhagavad Gita – who has supported the entry of women in Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, was attacked by unidentified men in the early hours of Saturday.

Preliminary reports said a van and a car parked in the ashram compound at Kundamankadavu here were set on fire by the attackers, at about 2.30 am. A wreath was also placed at the ashram.

READ: The great mismatch

The Swami, a regular face in TV debates, is a staunch critic of hardline Hindutva and has earlier faced backlash on social media over the positions he takes on many issues. He had supported the implementation of the Supreme Court judgment which allowed women of all ages entry to the Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala.

Sandeepananda Giri said the Sabarimala tantri (head priest) family, the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam (former custodians of the temple) and BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai were responsible to the attack. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who visited the ashram condemned the attack.

READ: Sabarimala doors remain closed for young women

More than 2,000 people have been arrested in the state over the past couple of days in connection with protests against the implementation of the September 28 Supreme Court judgment.