BJP general secretary K Surendran, who was remanded to 14-days judicial custody by a magistrate court in Ranni on Friday in connection with his involvement in the protests over Sabarimala, alleged that an orchestrated campaign from the office of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had been unleashed against him to keep him behind bars.
Speaking to reporters en route the court from the sub-jail in Kottarakkara where he was lodged, Surendran said, “These are all false cases. I have been charged in incidents which haven’t even taken place. This is an orchestrated attack and the CM’s office is behind this. But I will not step away from the fight to uphold the traditions of Ayyappa even if they torture me.”
Surendran, a fiery leader of the BJP in Kerala, was taken into custody earlier this week from Nilakkal, the base camp of the hill shrine, where he had gone in a bid to offer prayers at the temple as a pilgrim. Despite police’s request to return, Surendran was non-committal.
Subsequently, the police arrested him on charges of violating prohibitory orders and using criminal force to prevent officers from doing their duty. Surendran was granted bail on Wednesday in one of the cases, but an existing non-bailable warrant in Kannur against him prevented his release from jail.
On Friday, Surendran alleged that the ruling Left government was keeping him in jail as it was afraid of his chances at winning the by-election in Manjeswaram in Kasaragod district. The seat had fallen vacant after the demise of the MLA there.
In 2016, Surendran, who fought on a BJP ticket from Manjeswaram, had lost by just 89 votes to the IUML candidate. After the result, Surendran files a case in the Kerala high court alleging that fake votes were cast in favour of the IUML candidate. The case is still pending in the High Court and a verdict is awaited.
“They have two intentions: one to break the confidence of Ayyappa devotees and second to push me out of the picture completely in the Manjeswaram bye-election case. I will fight this courageously, I’m sure that lakhs of Ayyappa devotees and believers are with me,” the BJP leader said.