- Rahul Easwar allegedly made provocative remarks at a press conference
- Over 3,000 arrested as part of big crackdown on Sabarimala protesters
- Rahul Easwar belongs to the Thazhamon family of Sabarimala priests
Hours after activist Rahul Easwar was arrested today for his alleged provocative remarks on the Sabarimala temple issue, the activist has been granted bail. Over 3,000 people from across Kerala have been arrested in the last three days as part of a massive crackdown on protesters who prevented women from entering the temple earlier this month.
A case was registered against Mr Easwar, who belongs to the Thazhamon family of Sabarimala priests, on the basis of a complaint filed by a person from Thiruvananthapuram, the police said.
Mr Easwar had allegedly said at a press conference in Kochi that there were people ready to "make wounds in their hand and spill blood in the temple" to force the closure of the hill shrine in case any woman of menstruating age managed to enter the temple.
The Supreme Court order last month overturned the centuries-old ban on women of menstruating age entering the temple of Lord Ayyappa. Protests and violence were witnessed as the temple opened to devotees for five days earlier this month. 3,346 people from across the state have been arrested and 517 cases have been registered since October 26.
Mr Easwar was arrested amid a massive crackdown on protesters who prevented women from entering the Sabarimala temple. He was arrested earlier this month and later released on bail for allegedly blocking women at Sabarimala.
The protesters ensured that no woman in the 'barred' age group of 10 to 50 made it to the temple during the five days that it opened this month, despite the top court allowing them to enter the shrine.
BJP chief Amit Shah on Saturday attacked the Pinarayi Vijayan government, saying that the Left government was misusing the Sabarimala issue to target BJP and RSS workers. Mr Shah said the BJP stands behind the arrested people "like a rock". The comments were slammed by Chief Minister Vijayan, who said that they go against the constitution.
The arrest of the Rahul Easwar, who heads the 'Ayyappa Dharma Sena', did not go down well with the BJP. "The BJP condemns the police action on Rahul Easwar and also those associated wit the protests over the Sabarimala issue," Kerala BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai told reporters.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)