Millennium Post

BJP leader remanded to 14-day judicial custody, party protests

Nilackal (Kerala): BJP Kerala General Secretary K Surendran, who was taken into preventive custody as he tried to proceed to the Lord Ayappa Temple, was Sunday produced before a magistrate and remanded to 14-day judicial custody after he was charged with non-bailable offences.

Surendran, who had 'Irrumudikettu" (holy bundle of offerings for Lord Ayyappa) was taken into custody from Nilackal Saturday night as he along with two others was on his way to the temple at Sabarimala.

Surendran was asked by Superintendent of Police Yatish Chandra not to proceed towards Sabarimala but he did not heed.They were then taken into preventive custody and brought to Chittar Police Station on Saturday night.

Early today, they were taken to Pathnamthitta district hospital and then produced before the Pathnamthitta judicial first class magistrate at his residence.

The magistrate remanded them to 14-day judicial custody.

Cases under IPC 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging his duty) and 34 IPC (acts done by several persons for furtherance of common intention) were charged against them by police.

Speaking to reporters, Surendran alleged that he was assaulted by police, not given water, food and medicines.

He charged that the arrest was politically motivated and a retaliatory action by the state government.

Consequently, The Kerala unit of the BJP observed a protest on Sunday by blocking highways across the state following the arrest and the subsequent remand of senior party leader K. Surendran.

Surendran was taken into custody on Saturday night after he got into a scuffle with the police while attempting to go to the Sabarimala temple despite police cordon in the area.

After spending the night at Chittar police station,Surendran was produced before a magistrate near here on Sunday morning which remanded him to a 14-day judicial custody.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader is currently at the Kottarakara sub-jail.

Surendran who spoke to the media before being remanded said: "The police have charged me uunder non-bailable sections. I am no criminal, nor do I have any cases against me. They did not let me sleep, nor was I allowed water or to take my medicines.

"The police even roughed up my 'Irumudi kettu' (a mandatory holy kit to be taken to the temple)."

In reaction to the development, state BJP President P.S. Sreedharan Pillai told the media that Kerala was under "jungle raj".

"Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is arrogant and was behaving in an irrational manner. The present impasse in the state over the Sabarimala issue is his creation. We will strongly resist."

BJP leaders and activists started to block traffic across the state on the highways since 10 a.m.

According to new police rules that came into effect from Friday, no pilgrim is allowed to proceed to the temple after 7 p.m. as the temple closes for the day at 10 p.m.

The temple opened its doors at 5 p.m. on Friday for two months.

The temple town 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 apex court last week refused to stay its earlier verdict.

Surendran and his party have been up in arms against the Vijayan government, which according to them, is determined to see that a woman in the hitherto "banned" age group is allowed 'darshan' at the temple and they have vowed that the temple traditions will not be breached.

The BJP and the Sangh Parivar forces have decided to strengthen their presence in and around the temple town and have asked its cadres to arrive as pilgrims.

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