Police to pursue all cases registered last season

10,561 identified as accused in cases and 63% of them are BJP activists

The State government’s decision not to allow entry of women of menstruating age into the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala till the Supreme Court takes a final call on a batch of review petitions may have little bearing on thousands of police cases registered in connection with the violent protests that took place across the State during the last pilgrim season.

During the period from October 17, 2018, to January 4, 2019, the police had registered 2,012 cases spread over multiple police stations as violent mob ran amok in protest against the government's decision to implement the apex court verdict to throw open the temple to women of menstruating age. “We will pursue all those cases to their logical conclusions,” police sources said. Altogether 67,094 persons were arraigned as accused, out of which the police have identified 10,561 accused. Among the accused, nearly 63% were Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists while the Sabarimala Karma Samithi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and other right-wing-affiliated organisations accounted for 14% each.

Signs of things in store were visible even before the temple opened for the five-day rituals in the Malayalam month of Thulam in the evening of October 17 last year as protesters had by then turned Nilackal, the entry point of the temple, into a protest zone. Those five days witnessed the registration of 281 cases involving 10,720 accused, out of which 2,287 have been identified so far. Things were no different later when the temple was opened for a day’s puja for Chithira Attavishesham, a ceremony linked to the birthday of Chithira Tirunal Balarama Varma, ruler of the erstwhile State of Travancore, on November 5. Thirty eight cases involving 724 persons were registered on that day of which 142 have been identified till now.

Fresh wave of protests

The opening of the temple for Mandala puja on December 27 brought a fresh wave of protests leading to the registration of 433 cases involving 18,953 accused of which 3,263 have been identified. Things turned nasty during the Makaravilakku season and by the time it was over by January-mid, the police had registered 1,260 cases against 36,697 persons out of which 4,869 have been identified.

Notwithstanding the government decision to wait for the decision of the seven-member Bench, the police remain sceptic of what lies in store for the forthcoming season as the verdict allowing entry of women of all ages does not technically remains stayed.

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Printable version | Jul 1, 2020 4:58:17 PM |

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