More Than 2,000 Sabarimala Protesters Arrested Across Kerala In Two Days

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Protestors held for defying Top Court order which allowed women of all ages to visit Sabarimala. (File)

Kochi:

The police have arrested more than 2,000 people in two days after authorities launched a crackdown on protesters who prevented women from entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

More than 700 people from Pathanamthitta district, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Ernakulam and other places have been arrested in 12 hours, said Director General of Police Loknath Behra.

Across the state, 2,061 people have been arrested after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting with police officials and ordered a crackdown on those defying a Supreme Court order. A total of 452 cases have been registered against 2,300 people.

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The Supreme Court on September 28 overturned a centuries-old practice that barred women of menstrual age (10-50 years) from entering the hill temple, where a celibate deity Lord Ayyappa is worshipped.

The police chief said the crackdown will continue. "Cases have been registered as that's the way it should be done. We have also decided to set up a Special Committee to see that the upcoming festival season (starting on November 17 for two months) does not see a repeat of the situation in October," said Mr Behra.

However, at least 1,500 of the arrested people have been let off on bail to avoid overcrowding of jails, officials said.

On October 29, chief minister Vijayan will review the actions taken against Sabarimala protesters.

Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala today accused Mr Vijayan of trying to turn Sabarimala into a conflict zone.

"The Chief Minister is unnecessarily trying to create unpleasant situations by appointing CPI-M activists to take on the devotees. The Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) has turned out to be a complete failure and hence it should be disbanded," he said.

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