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BJP to send four-member delegation to assess atrocities, arrests at Sabarimala

BJP general secretary Saroj Pandey, national president of the party’s Schedule Caste morcha Vinod Sonkar, members of Parliament Pralhad Joshi and Nalin Kumar Kateel have been appointed as the members of the delegation.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2018 12:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindu devotees stage a protest at Sabarimala temple after a woman who reached near the 18 holy steps of the hilltop shrine was heckled by agitators over her age, at Sabarimala, in Pathanamthitta district(PTI File Photo)

A four-member delegation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed by chief Amit Shah will visit the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala to meet people and workers in order to assess the “atrocities being committed against satyagrahis”.

“A delegation has been appointed by Hon’ble National President Shri Amit Shah to take the first hand account of ongoing agitation of Sabrimala Shrine, to assess the atrocities being committed to Satyagrahis and indiscriminate arrests being made by police during the agitation and to meet the general public and party workers in particular,” the party said in a statement on Tuesday

BJP general secretary Saroj Pandey, national president of the party’s Schedule Caste morcha Vinod Sonkar, members of Parliament Pralhad Joshi and Nalin Kumar Kateel have been appointed as the members of the delegation.

Read: Kerala activist Rehana Fathima arrested for hurting religious sentiments amid Sabarimala stir

The delegation will submit its report within 15 days to the party chief, the ruling party said in the statement.

The hilltop shrine to Lord Ayyappa has witnessed a string of violent protests by devotees and right-wing groups against the government’s decision to implement the September 28 Supreme Court verdict, permitting women of all age groups to pray at the temple.

More than 3,505 protesters were arrested and at least 529 cases were filed in connection with the violence.

The tension amid frequent protests and restrictions imposed by police at the complex and its surroundings had kept pilgrims away from Sabarimala, but their numbers have slowly picked up.

Read: Heavy crowd at Sabarimala temple even as chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Congress trade barbs

The Kerala high court on Tuesday ordered that no protests or demonstrations should be held at Sabarimala, saying it was not a place for such activities.

The court also set aside the ‘unilateral’ restrictions imposed by police on the devotees in the Sannidhanam (temple complex) and appointed a three-member team as its observers there during the ongoing Mandala-Makaravilakku festival season.

The temple was opened on November 16 for the third since the Supreme Court’s for over two-month-long pilgrimage season

First Published: Nov 28, 2018 11:42 IST