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Sabarimala row: Kerala assembly disrupted again, BJP announces fresh stir

The temple has been witnessing a series of protests since the Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict allowing women of all ages to worship there.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2018 23:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Sabarimala,Kerala assembly,disrupted
Sabarimala: Devotees pay obeisance Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. Kerala has been witnessing massive protests by Ayyappa devotees opposing the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the Sabarimala temple since the government decided to implement the apex court order. (File Photo) (PTI)

The Kerala assembly was disrupted for the second consecutive day on Thursday over the Sabarimala situation even as the BJP announced a fresh agitation in front of the state secretariat from Monday to seek lifting of restrictions at the hill temple.

As proceedings began in the assembly, the Congress-led opposition asked Speaker Sivaramakrishnan to suspend the question hour and take up its adjournment motion over the dearth of infrastructure and restrictions at the temple. But when the speaker allowed the question hour, angry opposition members came up to the podium and disrupted the proceedings. As the protests intensified, the speaker adjourned the House for the day.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president P S Sreedharan Pillai said general secretary A N Radhakrishnan will observe a 15-day hunger strike demanding withdrawal of prohibitory orders in Sabarimala and release of party leader K Surendran, who was arrested in connection with protests at Sabarimala. The shift in the party’s agitational mode came after the Kerala High Court banned protests at the temple.

“We will collect at least one crore signatures with the demand to save Sabarimala. We will also start village-level programmes to expose the state government which has a single-point agenda to destroy the second largest seasonal pilgrimage in the world,” said Pillai. He said party president Amit Shah has constituted a four-member panel to study the Sabarimala issue and they will reach the state in a couple of days.

The temple has been witnessing a series of protests since the Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict allowing women of all ages to worship there. As the shrine opened for the annual pilgrimage on November 17, the state government imposed restrictions at the hilltop and the base camps to tackle protestors and deployed more than 10,000 policemen in the area.

The uneasy atmosphere has affected footfall to Sabarimala as well as temple revenues. According to the Travancore Devasom Board, which runs the temple, there is a dip of Rs 30 crore during the first 12 days of the season as compared to the same period last year.

First Published: Nov 29, 2018 19:33 IST