| Pathanamthitta |
Updated: November 18, 2018 8:02:22 pm
BJP Kerala president P S Sreedharan Pillai, who has been rallying his party’s protests against the entry of women of procreating age in the Sabarimala temple, claimed on Sunday that the ruling CPM in Kerala has entered ‘a phase of liquidation’. He lashed out at Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for taking an adamant stand on the row and warned that he will be his party’s last chief minister in the state.
“This government is destroying Sabarimala. It is waging a war with devotees,” Pillai said at a dharna organised in Pathanamthitta district to protest the lack of arrangements for pilgrims at the temple. Follow LIVE UPDATES HERE
“Our demand has been that proper arrangements must be made for pilgrims at the temple by officials. Today, there is no drinking water available at Pamba and Sannidhanam. Basic toilet facilities for old women are not available. There are a lot of shops which are lying shut and have not been taken for auction. There is no place to stay overnight for pilgrims,” he alleged.
The dharna comes on a day Pillai’s party blocked main arterial roads and national highways across the state in protest against the arrest of general secretary K Surendran from Nilakkal, the base camp of the temple. Surendran had intimated the police that he wanted to go to offer prayers at the temple. But the police, fearing a breakdown in law and order if he is allowed to climb up, took him into preventive custody and later charged him with preventing an officer from doing his duty. Surendran was produced before a magistrate today and remanded in 14-days police custody and lodged at the sub-jail in Kottarakara.
At the dharna outside the municipal stadium in Pathanamthitta on a rainy evening, Pillai said the BJP would step up protests in coming days to ensure ‘upkeep’ of rituals and traditions at Sabarimala. “We are exploring all opportunities to expand the protests nationwide. We have also held consultations with the Centre on how to move legally. We will continue to walk on the path of dharma,” he said. He also hinted that a central minister would visit Sabarimala on Monday, ostensibly referring to Alphons Kannanthanam, the MoS for Tourism and IT, who is likely to visit the shrine to take stock of arrangements for pilgrims.
The dharna was inaugurated by BJP’s sole MLA in the state, O Rajagopal, and was attended by G Raman Nair, former president of the Travancore Devaswom Board which administers Sabarimala. Nair, who was earlier a part of the Congress, was made the BJP state vice-president when he crossed over into the saffron party.
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