Kerala Women’s Commission opens inquiry into the ‘pepper spray’ attack

Bindu Ammini, rights activist, arguing with police outside the City Police Commissioner's Office in Kochi on Tuesday morning.

Bindu Ammini, rights activist, arguing with police outside the City Police Commissioner's Office in Kochi on Tuesday morning.

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Bindu Ammini, rights activist, arguing with police outside the City Police Commissioner's Office in Kochi on Tuesday morning.
Bindu Ammini, rights activist, arguing with police outside the City Police Commissioner’s Office in Kochi on Tuesday morning.

Activist Trupti Desai, along with with four members of the Bhumata Brigade, has arrived in Kochi to visit the Sabarimala temple.

With the Supreme Court is yet to rule on whether a non-epistolary court can intervene in religious affairs, activist Trupti Desai, along with with four members of the Bhumata Brigade, has arrived in Kochi to visit the Sabarimala temple on November 26.

BJP, Sangh Parivar not behind the attack, says Kummanam Rajasekharan

Sabarimala women entry | Updates: Kerala Women’s Commission opens inquiry into the ‘pepper spray’ attack

Former State president of the Bharathiya Janata Party Kummanam Rajasekharan told journalists that neither the BJP nor the Sangh Parivar had anything to do with the attack on Ms. Ammini. He said the person arrested in connection with the incident was not a member of the party.

Mr. Rajasekharan said the Government’s lack of commitment to protecting customs and practices unique to Sabarimala lay at the heart of the latest outbreak of protests by devotees. The State should take a clear stance in the SC to protect Sabarimala faith, Mr Rajasekharan said, adding that devotees would resist any move to dilute religious customs in Sabarimala.

Devaswom Minister alleges conspiracy in protests against Trupti Desai

Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran condemned the ‘pepper spray’ attack against Ms. Ammini in strong terms. However, he said the “set piece” protests against the activists appeared to be part of a bigger conspiracy to disrupt the pilgrimage and sow seeds of unrest in Kerala.

Mr. Surendran said a national channel had interviewed Ms. Desai and her compatriots when they alighted at the Kochi International Airport.

The channel broadcast their intention to journey to Sabarimala and their temporary stop at the office of the Commissioner for police to seek the law enforcement’s protection.

Soon, Sangh Parivar activists gathered outside the police facility and raised a noisy protest. It seemed they had a prescient warning about the arrival of Ms. Desai and her supporters, he said.

“The entire chain of events seemed preset and smacked of a plot to disrupt the pilgrimage,” Mr. Surendran told journalists. He said the attempt to unleash trouble had come at a time when the pilgrimage was progressing smoothly, and offering from devotees had touched an all-time high.

‘Ammini didn’t meet Law Minister’

The Minister denied reports that Ms. Ammini had met Law Minister A. K. Balan in the Government Secretariat last week and aired her intention to accompany workers of the Bhumata Brigade to Sabarimala. The State government had nothing to do with their travel plans. It had received legal advice that the government was under no juridical obligation to escort women activists to Sabarimala.

He said the Supreme Court’s latest order lacked clarity on whether its 2018 verdict allowing the entry of women between the age of 10 and 50 to the temple remained operational. Some quarters interpreted the latest court decision as one that put the earlier order in abeyance. He said any citizen could move the court to seek lucidity.

Former State president of the Bharatiya Janata Party Kummanam Rajasekharan told journalists that neither the BJP nor the Sangh Parivar had anything to do with the attack on Ms. Ammini. He said the person arrested in connection with the incident was not a member of the party.

Mr. Rajasekharan said the government’s lack of commitment to protecting customs and practices unique to Sabarimala lay at the heart of the latest outbreak of protests by devotees. The State should take a clear stance in the Supreme Court to protect Sabarimala faith. Mr. Rajasekharan said devotees would resist any move to dilute religious customs at Sabarimala.

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