Blow to BJP as candidate gets 14-day jail on Sabarimala row
Pathanamthitta, Mar 29: In a blow to the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in Kerala, a party candidate was sent to jail by a court on Thursday in a case related to the alleged attack on a woman devotee in Sabarimala temple last November.
Prakash Babu, the party's candidate in Kozhikode constituency, was remanded to 14-day judicial custody by a court in Ranni here.
Babu was accused of attacking the woman who had come to offer prayers at the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple in November amid protests against implementing the September 28 apex court verdict permitting women of all age groups into the shrine.
A case had been registered against him in this regard at the local police station.
The court refused to grant him bail and the leader was now shifted to the Kottarakkara sub-jail, party sources said, adding that he would soon move the higher court for bail.
Babu had already launched the campaign in the constituency, they added.
Kerala had witnessed widespread protests from frenzied devotees and rightwing groups over the CPI(M)-led LDF government's decision to implement the apex court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the hill shrine.
Traditionally, women of menstruating age or in the age group of 10 to 50 years were not allowed to enter the temple as the deity, Lord Ayyappa, was in the form of "Naishtika brahmachari" (perennial celibate).
The Lok Sabha polls will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19.
Kerala will go to the polls on April 23.