High Court raps Kerala Govt for excesses on Ayyappa devotees
The Kerala High Court on Monday came down heavily on the State Government while hearing a series of petitions filed by various Hindu organizations challenging the restrictions imposed at Sabarimala, the holy shrine in the Western Ghats.
Justices Ramachandra Menon and N Anil Kumar lambasted police for “blatant violation of human rights” against women devotees and children who were taking rest at the covered walkway at the shrine on Sunday night by pumping water to make them leave the spot.
The State had a sleepless night on Sunday following the crackdown by police on devotees who were taking rest at the walkway and were reciting hymns and Ayyappa devotional songs. Police arrested 69 devotees, threw down their holy “Irumudikettu”, (the bundle containing offerings to the deity which could be opened only inside the sanctum of the temple) and assaulted them for reciting Ayyappa hymns.
They were taken to a court in Pathanamthitta and were remanded in 14 days custody under non-bailable sections of the IPC on Monday and sent to Central Jail at Thiruvananthapuram. This led hundreds of Ayyappa devotees to undertake Nama Japa Yatra (rallies in which the participants recite hymns and devotional songs in praise of Lord Ayyappa) at police stations across the State.
The rallies concluded peacefully but not before some of them were assaulted by police. The devotees staged a Nama Japa Yatra in front of Cliff House, the official residence of the Chief Minister in the Capital city.
The High Court while hearing the petitions filed by Hindu organizations on Monday took police to task for their actions which were not in synch with a pilgrimage center.
“On what ground you passed orders making it illegal for the devotees to stay in the walkway during night hours? How can you pump water and make the walkway wet to keep old devotees and tiny tots away from the walkway? Do you have made alternate arrangements for their stay in the Sannidhanam after the closure of the temple doors every night?” asked the judges to the Government advocate.
The court said it is not content with the explanations given by the advocate general and asked the State Police Chief to file a comprehensive report by Thursday.
K Ramkumar, the septuagenarian senior lawyer, who represented the devotees said the Court told the Government and police that they have no rights to fix the schedule for the devotees to pray at the temple.
“The judges were taken aback when they were told that devotees were sent back from the temple without permitting them to offer the Irumudykettu at the sanctum, They also asked the Government to implement the apex court verdict permitting women of all ages in the temple peacefully and without upsetting the other devotees,” said Ramkumar.
He said there was a blatant violation of human rights at Sabarimala.
K P Sasikala, leader of the Hindu United Front told reporters after her darshan at the temple on Monday that the CPI-M led Government has failed in making any kind of basic arrangements at the temple. “It is to cover up the failure of the Government that police were being used to scare away the devotees. It is pathetic to see that infants have to sleep near heaps of garbage where wild boars and pigs come in search of food,” said Sasikala.
But Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at Kozhikode that the RSS and the BJP were behind all the troubles at Sabarimala. “The Government is duty-bound to implement the Supreme Court order allowing women inside the temple. What is important is to protect the rights of the devotees. But the RSS and the BJP are fomenting troubles all over the State,” said the Chief Minister while inaugurating the annual meet of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists at Kozhikode. read more posts…
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