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‘Open fire if you want’: BJP leader before detention at Sabarimala

The development comes after the 12-hour shut down called by the Sabarimala Karma Samiti and BJP to protest the arrest of Hindu Aikya Vedi leader K P Sasikala in the early hours of Saturday crippled normal life in Kerala, the second bandh in a month.

New Delhi: In a fresh turn in the Sabarimala row, BJP secretary K Surendran was detained in Nilakkal base camp on Sunday while he was trying to the shrine. The action has been termed “precautionary measure” — owing to the saffron party’s support to protestors against the Supreme Court verdict – which allows entry of women of all ages to the hilltop temple.

Stopped by police and told that he cannot go towards the Pamba base camp and to the temple at night, an angry Surendran, who was accompanied by some party workers, said, “You cannot prevent me from going to the Sabarimala temple, as I have already registered for pujas. You can stop me only if you open fire and you are free to do so”, reported IANS.

As Surendran, who told the police he had come as a “Ayyappa Bhaktha” (devotee) and should be allowed to pray at the temple, tried to go forward, he was taken into custody. According to the new police rules that came into effect from Friday, no pilgrim is allowed to proceed to the temple after 7 p.m. as the temple closes for the day at 10 p.m.

After spending the night at Chittar police station, BJP state general secretary K Surendran was produced before a magistrate near Pathanamthitta today morning which remanded him to a 14-day judicial custody. He is currently at the Kottarakara sub-jail. “The police have charged me under non-bailable sections. I am no criminal, nor do I have any cases against me. They did not let me sleep, nor was I allowed water or to take my medicines,” news agency IANS quoted Mr Surendran.

Superintendent of police Yatish Chandra said Surendran was taken to police station in Ranni in Pathanamthitta district.

Following the arrest, BJP workers protested outside the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram, blocking traffic, and water canons were used to disperse them. The party has announced it would hold protests tomorrow too.

BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai said the police action against Surendran has created an “extremely dangerous” situation, according to PTI.

He said he has informed Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the “seriousness” of the situation.

BJP workers will observe a “protest day” in the state tomorrow and block traffic on the highways, he said.

The latest protests come after the 12-hour shut down called by the Sabarimala Karma Samiti and BJP to protest the arrest of Hindu Aikya Vedi leader K P Sasikala early Saturday crippled normal life in Kerala, the second bandh in a month.

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