Thiruvananthapuram: Over 3,345 protesters who prevented women from entering the Sabarimala temple, have been arrested since since 26 October, while 517 cases have been registered at various police stations across Kerala, authorities said on Sunday.
On Sunday morning, Sabarimala tantri family member and activist Rahul Easwar was arrested in Thiruvananthapuram, taking the total number of arrests 3,346. He has been taken to Kochi.
Eashwar was arrested after the police received a complaint stating that he had made provocative remarks over the issue at a press conference in Kochi last week.
In the last 12 hours, over 500 arrests was recorded at police stations in Pathanamthitta district — where the Lord Ayyappa shrine is located — as well as Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Ernakulam.
So far, only 122 are in remand, while others have been released on bail, according to the police.
However, Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra has directed that no arrest should be made of those people who protested by singing hymns and prayers.
These arrests were made for defying the 28 September Supreme Court order overturning the ban on women of menstrual age (10-50 years) from entering the hilltop Sabarimala temple where celibate deity Lord Ayyappa is worshipped.
Defending the arrests, state Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Sunday told the media that this was normal police action when the rule of law is breached.
"During the previous Congress-led UDF rule, over four lakh cases were registered against our workers. Is it not natural for the police to act when rules are broken?" asked Balakrishnan.
On 17 October, the Sabarimala temple opened for the five-day monthly puja. However, the protesters had ensured that no women in the earlier barred age group could enter the sanctum sanctorum until 22 October when the gates closed.
Updated Date: Oct 28, 2018 20:33:21 IST