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60 arrested after midnight clashes at Sabarimala; protesters camp outside Kerala CM’s house

New Delhi (The Statesman) -- Over 60 pilgrims were arrested from Sabarimala after they failed to comply to prohibitory orders in place at the temple leading to protests here and across Kerala, police said on Monday.

Hindu outfits protest against the Kerala govt’s decision to implement SC’s verdict on Sabarimala. (File Photo)

The protesters were demanding lifting the ban on overnight stay in the temple premises. While angry Hindu activists took to streets, raised slogans and held prayer sessions in front of police stations across the state, Union Minister KJ Alphons criticised the state government for the action.
“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 Al-phons was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
As news spread about the arrests, in Thiruvananthapuram protesters assembled near Chief Minister Pinara-yi Vijayan’s residence and shouted slogans.
The members of the BJP and its mentor the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had gathered in front of Cliff House — Vijayan’s official residence at Nanthancode in Thiruvananthapuram.
Simultaneous protests were also held at various places across the state in Aranmula, Kochi, Kollam, Alappuzha, Ranni, Thodupuzha, Kaladi, Malappuram and Idukki among others. The situation started growing tense late on Sunday when despite prohibitory orders in and around the temple town, over 200 pilgrims did not vacate the premise and started singing Lord Ayyappa hymns.
They continued with the chants even after being requested, forcing the police to take action and forcefully evict them. As many as 68 devotees were also arrested.
They were taken to the Maniar Police Camp in Pathanamthitta district and were to be produced before a court later Monday.
Superintendent of Police Prathish Kumar told the media the arrests were made as protesters even after being informed to disperse once the temple closed at 10 pm, did not move out.
Forces of the Sangh Parivar has announced to hold protests on Monday across the state. Security has been heightened for Vijayan, who has official engagements in Kozhikode.

(Latest Update November 20, 2018)

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