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As politics heats over Sabarimala, Kerala BJP president booked

The case was registered in Kozhikode on Thursday on a complaint by journalist Shybin alleging that Pillai had recently instigated activists to protest against the entry of women of child-bearing age into the hill shrine, police said.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2018 07:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Sabarimala temple,BJP,Kerala BJP president
Kerala police booked BJP state president PS Sreedharan Pillai for his speech claiming credit for the Sabarimala agitation.(PTI)

Kerala police booked Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president PS Sreedharan Pillai for his speech claiming credit for the Sabarimala agitation, on a day his party launched a rath yatra (chariot campaign) to protect the Lord Ayyappa temple’s traditions and rituals and the Congress announced rallies covering the entire state.

The case was registered in Kozhikode on Thursday on a complaint by journalist Shybin alleging that Pillai had recently instigated activists to protest against the entry of women of child-bearing age into the hill shrine, police said. Reacting to this, Pillai accused the CPI(M) and the Congress of ‘witch hunting’ and trying to ‘tarnish’ his image.

On September 29, the Supreme Court had allowed entry of all women into the temple, triggering protests by various groups that kept them out on October 17 when the doors were thrown open. Addressing youth leaders later, Pillai had claimed that the protests were planned and executed by his party.

On Thursday, within hours of former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa flagging off the rath yatra aimed at expanding the BJP influence in the state before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, stones were pelted in Payyanur in the evening. Immediately, the BJP called for a statewide protest on Friday. Pillai and Tushar Vellapally, leader of Bharath Dharma Jana Sena, an ally of the NDA in Kerala, are leading the ‘Sabarimala Samrakshana Rath Yatra’. The Congress too announced five rallies across the state. Five senior leaders, including K Sudhakaran and K Muralidharan, will be leading the rallies.

On Thursday, the Kerala high court rejected the bail application of Kochi resident Govind Madhusudhan, arrested in connection with the Sabarimala protests. “The protests at Sabarimala are not acceptable as it is against the verdict of the Supreme Court,” the court said. “If the bail application is considered, it will send wrong signals and similar incidents will recur.”

Police have arrested at least 3,700 people in connection with the violence.

First Published: Nov 08, 2018 23:50 IST