Kerala

1,400 arrested for violence during Sabarimala protest

The police have filed 440 cases and issued a lookout circular for 210 persons allegedly involved in the protests.

The police have filed 440 cases and issued a lookout circular for 210 persons allegedly involved in the protests.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

440 cases filed, look-out circular issued

In a Statewide crackdown that began on Wednesday, the Kerala police have arrested 1,400 people in connection with the violent protests against the entry of young women into the Sabarimala temple earlier this month.

Police have filed 440 cases and issued lookout circular for 210 persons allegedly involved in the protests at Nilackal, Pampa and Sabarimala. Sources said 150 persons had already been identified.

Special teams

State Police Chief Loknath Behera confirmed the arrests. The operation was led by district police chiefs. Those arrested, including women, have been booked under various Sections from rioting to destruction of public property, attacking people and deterring public servants from discharging their duty.

An official at the Kerala Police headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram said special teams had been formed to track down the persons featured in the lookout notice and take them into custody. “The crackdown is being coordinated by top officials at the range level,” he said.

BJP to move court

The string of violent incidents started when the Sabarimala temple opened for monthly rituals earlier this month, shortly after the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the temple. There was a showdown between protesters trying to prevent the entry of young women to the shrine and the police.

Condemning the widespread arrests, the BJP State unit said it would move the court. The party, which is spearheading the protest against the entry of young women into the temple, said it would also take out protest marches throughout the State on Friday.

The Pathanamthitta Police arrested 153 people from different parts of the State in connection with 50 cases registered following the violence occurred at Nilackal and Pampa on October 17. Of the 153, 74 have been charged for non-bailable offences such as destruction of public property, attacking women journalists and police vehicles and injuring a police commando. The remaining 79 offences are bailable for offences like rioting and road blockade.

Those arrested were later produced before the Judicial First Class Magistrate at Ranni.

As many as 240 people were arrested from Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta districts. Another 564 persons were arrested from Kottayam and Ernakulam. “More arrests will be made in the coming days as the remaining on the list are being identified, said Vijay Sakhare, Inspector general of Police, Kochi Range.

In Thiruvananthapuram City, 76 were arrested and another 23 from the rural limits of the capital district. P. Prakash, District Police Chief, Thiruvananthapuram City, said none of the women arrested in the capital had been remanded. “The crackdown will continue,” he said.

The Mundakkayam police had earlier booked five persons in connection with the attempt to block Bindu, a rights activist, while on her way to Sabarimala. They had been booked under IPC Sections 353 and 332 for assault and voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from his duty. “Since they have moved for anticipatory bail, we are awaiting the court order before recording their arrest,” said S. Madhusoodanan, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kanjirapilly.

Over 300 people have been arrested in Ernakulam district. While 226 people, mostly active RSS, BJP, Antarrashrtiya Hindu Parishad workers or supporters, were arrested from within various police stations limits in the city, another 75 were nabbed from within the rural limits. Twenty cases were booked for non-bailable offences including assault on police officers.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 10:51:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/1400-arrested-for-violence-during-sabarimala-protest/article25325722.ece

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