Sabarimala row: The Devaswom Board will move court today seeking more time to implement the order.
Union Minister KJ Alphons today lashed out at the Kerala government for turning the Sabarimala Temple complex into a "war zone" and lack of facilities at the Lord Ayyappa shrine even as police detained 68 people from the complex in the early hours for holding protests. Protests are being held across Kerala against the detention of the 70 persons even as the BJP demanded a judicial probe into the police action.
"The state government has turned the temple complex into a war zone. The devotees are not militants, they are pilgrims. What was the need to declare Section 144 at Sabarimala," Mr Alphons asked.
The sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Ayyappa Temple opened today morning with very few devotees turning up early.
Sixty-eight persons had been taken into preventive custody from the temple complex and brought to the Manniyar camp early this morning.Their details are being verified and their arrests have not been recorded yet.
Yesterday, the Kerala unit of the BJP and Congress held protests outside the official residence of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram.
Meanwhile, the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the Sabarimala shrine, has approached the Supreme Court seeking more time to implement its September order that removed a ban on women of menstruating age entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
Here are the LIVE updates on the developments on Sabarimala:
Union Minister KJ Alphons accused the Left-led state government of running a "dictatorship" and ignoring his recommendations made after a couple of earlier visits. "This is like Stalin-era in Soviet Union... they are determined to say you don't have the right to faith. They want to make sure that pilgrims who come don't have basic facilities," Mr Alphons told NDTV.
The petition filed by the temple body that manages the Sabarimala shrine says that the Travancore Devaswom Board lacks the necessary infrastructure to implement the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to visit the Lord Ayyappa temple. The petition is seeking more time to implement the verdict citing violence and protests in Sabarimala since the September 28 verdict.
The Travancore Devaswom Board has moved the Supreme Court seeking more time to implent its September 28 verdict on Sabarimala allowing women of all ages to enter the temple that hitherto banned girls and women aged between 10 and 50.
The quaint temple town Sabarimala in Kerala has witnessed protests by Hindu groups since the September 28 when the Supreme Court allowed women of all ages to enter the temple that hitherto banned girls and women aged between 10 and 50. The top court on November 13 refused to stay that verdict. While the Kerala government is trying hard to see that the top court verdict is implemented, the BJP/RSS, sangh parivar forces and the Congress-led United Democratic Front are up in arms against violation of the temple tradition.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee chief Mullapally Ramachandran attacked the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left government in the state and blamed the chief minister "solely" for the Sabarimala row. "The CM is solely responsible for this chaos. Didn't he know that these law and order issues will unfold?" Mr Ramachandran said. He also called out the Kerala Police's "high-handedness" in "manhandling" Lord Ayyappa devotees in the temple town.
Union minister KJ Alphons has also arrived at Sannidhnam or the inner courtyard of the Sabarimala temple. Earlier today, Mr Alphons criticised the Kerala government for turning the Sabarimala Temple complex into a "war zone" and lack of facilities at the shrine even as police detained 68 people from the complex in the early hours for holding protests.
KP Sasikala, the state president of Hindu Aikya Vedi, has reached Sannidhnam or the inner courtyard of the Sabarimala temple. She was arrested on Saturday for trying to create law and order problems. Her arrest had led to protests across the state.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has claimed that the RSS pre-decided the situation that occurred in Sabarimala last night. "The whole point of these people is to create violence at Sabarimala," Mr Vijayan said. He added that the temple board is doing its best to create a safe space for Lord Ayyappa devotees to offer their prayers at the Sabarimala shrine. "Our aim is to maintain peace at Sabarimala," Mr Vijayan added.
"While media focuses on BJP's vandalism and government's strong-arm tactics in Sabarimala, genuine pilgrims are suffering an atrocious lack of amenities, few clean facilities, inadequate toilet arrangements &multiple restrictions," Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted today. "Sabarimala is a place of worship, not of political drama," the lawmaker from Kerala added.
KP Sasikala, the state president of Hindu Aikya Vedi, arrives at Sabarimala. She was arrested on Saturday for trying to create law and order problems. Her arrest had led to protests across the state.
Kerala Police has filed cases against 200 people for obstructing the duty of the officers and rioting. Yesterday night, a hundred-odd devotees of Lord Ayyappa held protests while chanting "nama japam" (chanting in the name of Lord Ayyappa).
Union Minister KJ Alphons, who arrived at Nilackal, the base camp of the Sabarimala hill shrine, today morning, told reporters, "The state government has turned the temple complex into a war zone. The devotees are not militants, they are pilgrims." "What was the need to declare Section 144 at Sabarimala," news agency PTI quoted Mr Alphons. The minister's visit comes hours after the late night developments in Sabarimala when hundred-odd devotees held protests while chanting "nama japam" (chanting in the name of Lord Ayyappa) yesterday.
Visuals of KP Sasikala, the president of the Hindu Aikya Vedi and senior BJP leader, leaving for Sannidhanam, or the inner courtyard of the temple, in Sabarimala. Police has been assured that Ms Sasikala will return after 1pm as the Sabarimala temple closes. She has also been directed to not speak in a provocative manner and not mobilise people for protests. Ms Sasikala was detained while proceeding towards the Ayyappa shrine on Friday. She was produced before a local court and got bail.
Earlier visuals of Lord Ayyappa devotees protesting at Nadapanthal area in Sannidhanam yesterday night. The protesters were detained at night after hundreds of devotees agitated against the police restrictions and demanded the withdrawal of police forces. The protesters also demanded lifting the ban on overnight stay in Sabarimala temple premises.
"A situation worse than emergency is happening here, the devotees are not allowed to go up. Section 144 is imposed for no reason. Devotees are not terrorists, why do they need 15000 policemen here," KJ Alphons told news agency ANI.
The protesters demanded lifting the ban on overnight stay in the temple premises.
KP Sasikala, the state president of Hindu Aikya Vedi, was arrested for trying to create law and order problems and released last week is on her way to the temple.
The Sabarimala temple had opened on Friday for the third time in a month for the two-month long pilgrim season.
Nearly 70 people were detained at the Sabarimala temple late last night triggering massive protests by the BJP and the RSS in multiple parts of Kerala, including the Chief Minister's home.
Union Minister KJ Alphons tweeted last night that he will reach Pamba at 9 am. The minister said he will review the basic facilities provided at the base camp.
Travancore Devaswom Board has decided to move the Supreme Court seeking more time to implement its September order.
A large number of BJP and RSS workers protested outside the official residence of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan late Sunday night against the detention of over 30 persons at Sabarimala Temple.
Simultaneous protests were also held at various places across the state in Aranmula, Kochi, Kollam, Alapuzha, Ranni, Thodupuzha, Kaladi, Malappuram and Idukki among others.