The Kerala Police have arrested 1,400 persons who allegedly protested against the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 into the Sabarimala temple, PTI reported. The arrests were made over the last two days, Director General of Police Loknath Behera said on Thursday.
The police have registered 440 cases in connection with the violence that followed the Supreme Court’s judgement last month allowing women of all ages to enter the hill shrine. On Wednesday, the police also released photographs of more than 200 people suspected of being involved in the protests.
Protestors prevented the entry of women of menstruating age into the shrine after it was opened – on October 17 – to the public for the first time since the court’s order. The shrine closed on October 22 after the monthly rituals were completed, but not a single woman between the ages of 10 and 50 was able to enter it.
Governor P Sathasivam met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Thursday and informed him about the law and order situation in the state.
The state police on Wednesday launched major search operations for people it suspects of being involved in violence at Sabarimala, Pamba and Nilakkal towns last week. Pathnamthitta district police chief T Narayanan said the list, comprising 210 names along with their photographs, was sent to police chiefs of several districts for identification.
The police said that 5,000 additional personnel will be deployed at the shrine for the Mandala-Makaravillaku season beginning November 16. During this season, barring December 27-29, the temple will be open to the public till January 20. The number of personnel at Pamba, Nilakkal and the temple complex will also be increased and more CCTV cameras will be installed. A police officer told the Kerala High Court on Tuesday that “frenzied protests” are likely during the annual pilgrim season, and warned that the protests could lead to casualties.