The Kerala Assembly was adjourned for the fourth consecutive day on Monday amid chaos as some members of the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front shouted slogans while some others began an indefinite hunger strike on the Sabarimala temple matter, Manorama Online reported.
Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan adjourned the House 21 minutes into the session. At the beginning of the Question Hour, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the United Democratic Front would cooperate with the proceedings, but three MLAs – VS Sivakumar of the Congress, N Jayaraj of the Kerala Congress, and Parakkal Abdullah of the Indian Union Muslim League – said they would observe an indefinite “satyagraha” outside the Assembly building.
The Opposition alliance had earlier vowed to stall the House until the government withdraws the prohibitory orders imposed in and around Sabarimala.
BJP state General Secretary AN Radhakrishnan also began an indefinite hunger strike outside the Secretariat in the morning, Mathrubhumi reported.
Responding to Chennithala’s declaration of cooperation, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan accused the Opposition of colluding with the Bharatiya Janata Party on the Sabarimala controversy. “I thought the declaration would have come slightly earlier, when your friends had called off their struggle at Sabarimala,” he said. “Now they are fasting in front of the Secretariat and you are out in front of the Assembly. That both of you are in this together is as clear as daylight.”
Vijayan accused the Congress of following the stand taken by BJP President Amit Shah rather than that of their leader Rahul Gandhi.
Chennithala retaliated by saying that the Opposition does not need the chief minister’s permission to decide when to launch its agitation. He also accused the state government of giving the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh “the freedom to unleash violence at Sabarimala”.
As the Speaker sought to put an end to the argument between Chennithala and Vijayan, Opposition MLAs trooped to the well of the House and placed a black banner in front of his dais. With the leaders refusing to back down, Sreeramakrishan called off the proceedings for the day.
The Kerala Police on Sunday had arrested nine BJP leaders for violating prohibitory orders at Nilakkal base camp near the temple, which opened on November 16 for the third time since the Supreme Court in September allowed entry to women of all ages. So far, massive protests have prevented all women between the ages of 10 and 50 from entering the temple.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan rejects BJP’s charge on K Surendran’s arrest
Vijayan rejected the BJP’s allegation that the party’s state general secretary K Surendran was put behind bars in false cases. On November 18, Surendran and two others were arrested from Nilackal base camp at Sabarimala as he attempted to proceed to the temple. Police had asked him not to go towards the temple due to law and order problems.
Vijayan said there were 15 cases against Surendran, including for unlawful assembly, destroying public property and violating prohibitory orders. Eight of these cases were registered before 2016, he said.