Sabarimala temple protests Updates: A local court in Thiruvalla on Wednesday granted bail to BJP’s Kerala unit general secretary K Surendran who was taken into custody last week from Nilakkal base camp for violation of prohibitory orders. The arrest and remand of Surendran’s 14-day judicial custody had triggered massive protests in the state with BJP and other right-wing groups observing a 12-hour strike in the state. The court, however, asked Surendran not to visit the temple. The court also granted bail to 68 other people who were arrested on Monday after Sunday night’s police action against devotees. In another related development, the Kerala High Court sought an explanation from the LDF government over the need for imposition of prohibitory orders in and around Sabarimala temple. The state government has clamped Section 144 of CrPC to restrict gathering of more than four people near the temple for the last 5 days.
Meanwhile, the situation at famed Lord Ayyappa’s Sabarimala temple remains tense even five days after doors were opened for two-months-long pilgrimage. So far, no woman between the age of 10 and 50 years has been able to enter the premises of the hill shrine due to the continuous uproar over Supreme Court’s September 28 order to lift the centuries-old ban. On Tuesday, the Kerala Police further tightened the rules on entry timing and offering prayers inside Lord Ayyappa’s temple. Cops were seen handing out notices to pilgrims at the Nilackal base camp. The notices state that devotees should return in 6 hours after offering prayers at the temple and pilgrims are not supposed to speak to the media. It even said that if there is any violation, devotees are liable to be prosecuted.