Ker­ala HC: Protests against SC or­der not jus­ti­fi­able

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THE Ker­ala High Court Thurs­day termed as un­jus­ti­fi­able ag­i­ta­tions launched by var­i­ous groups against the Supreme Court ver­dict per­mit­ting en­try of women of all age groups into the Lord Ayyappa tem­ple in Sabari­mala.

Jus­tice Su­nil Thomas agreed with the state gov­ern­ment's con­tention that the protests and the vi­o­lence that oc­curred re­cently at the hill shrine and its key en­try points were against the apex court's di­rec­tives. Ag­i­ta­tions are un­jus­ti­fi­able, the court said while dis­miss­ing a bail ap­pli­ca­tion filed by Govind Mad­hu­soodan of Thrip­punithura, who was ar­rested in con­nec­tion with clashes with po­lice at Ni­lackal, near Pamba, when the tem­ple doors were opened for monthly puja last month.

Ag­i­ta­tions caused se­ri­ous hard­ships to the devo­tees. If bail is granted in such cases, that may lead to rep­e­ti­tion of sim­i­lar in­ci­dents, the court said.

Court dis­misses bail ap­pli­ca­tion

He was ar­rested for al­legedly block­ing ve­hi­cles at Ni­lackal and at­tempt­ing to as­sault women devo­tees. Girls be­low 10 years and women above 50 have fre­quently prayed at the Lord Ayyappa tem­ple in the past. How­ever, the en­try of women of all age groups has be­come a sen­si­tive is­sue af­ter the Septem­ber 28 apex court ver­dict.

Sev­eral jour­nal­ists were at­tacked by devo­tees when the tem­ple was opened for six days on Oc­to­ber 17 for the first time af­ter the SC or­der. At­tempts by around a dozen women, in­clud­ing ac­tivists and jour­nal­ists in the 10-50 age group, to script his­tory came to nought as protests by devo­tees forced them to re­treat.

On Novem­ber 6, around 200 devo­tees tried to prevent a woman pil­grim from en­ter­ing the hill­top shrine, sus­pect­ing her to be of men­strual age, and al­legedly at­tacked a cam­era­man of a Malay­alam tele­vi­sion news chan­nel.

Both the Con­gress, the main op­po­si­tion party in Ker­ala, and the BJP, which is des­per­ately seek­ing to ex­pand its foot­print in the state, have lent sup­port to the ag­i­ta­tion against the Supreme Court ver­dict.

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