The Kerala Police on Sunday arrested activist Rahul Easwar from his home in Thiruvananthapuram for allegedly making controversial statements about women’s entry in the Sabarimala temple, Mathrubhumi reported. He was granted bail on Sunday night, according to News18. Police had filed a case against Easwar on Friday for promoting enmity and for acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony.
The action was related to a remark Easwar made to reporters at the Ernakulam Press Club earlier this week. He had said that he had a contingency plan to force the closure of the temple – devotees would cut their hands and spill blood in the Sabarimala temple if any woman between the age of 10 to 50 was allowed to enter the shrine. “Had their blood fallen on the floor of the temple, that would have forced the priests to shut the shrine for three days for purification rituals,” Manorama Online quoted him as saying.
Last month, the Supreme Court passed an order allowing women of all ages entry into the temple. When the temple opened for rituals for five days earlier this month, protestors tried to prohibit women between the ages of 10 and 50 from entering the shrine. No such woman was able to enter the temple.
Easwar was one of those protesting against the Supreme Court judgement and had been arrested, along with 19 others, on October 18. Last week, he was let off on bail.
Meanwhile, the Kerala Police have so far arrested 3,346 protestors who prevented women from entering the temple, reported IANS. A total of 517 cases have been registered at police stations across the state, authorities said on Sunday.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Sunday defended the arrests and said this was normal police action when laws are not followed. “During the previous Congress-led United Democratic Front rule, over four lakh cases were registered against our workers,” he said. “Is it not natural for the police to act when rules are broken?”
On Saturday, Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah warned that his party’s workers will uproot the Left Democratic Front government in Kerala if it continues to arrest Ayyappa devotees who protested against women’s entry.