Sabarimala row: Kerala HC asks explanation from state govt on imposing sec 144
Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 21: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday sought an explanation from the state government on imposing section 144 around Sabarimala Temple, according to news agency ANI.
The court directed the state to explain in detail how is section 144 being implemented in the area. The HC also asked the government how it would distinguish between pilgrims and protesters coming to the hill shrine.
In reply, the state government told the court that it would file an affidavit. The government assured that the advocate general will be present in the court to explain on the matter by noon. The HC agreed to the submission.
Earlier, on Tuesday, Sabarimala witnessed moderate crowd of pilgrims, even as eight people were taken into preventive custody from the temple complex and opposition congress-led UDF leaders booked for violating prohibitory orders at the base camps.
Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Tuesday accused the Kerala government of treating pilgrims as 'Gulag inmates', prompting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to allege the Sangh Parivar was making the pilgrims 'scapegoats'. Mr Shah slammed the CPI(M)-led government's handling of the situation as "disappointing" and accused it of making them spend nights next to "pig droppings".
Restrictions have been imposed at the Lord Ayyappa temple following protests by devotees and activists of the BJP and RSS over the state government's decision to implement the 28 September Supreme Court order.
The apex court earlier refused to stay its September 28 verdict, lifting the ban on girls and women in the 10-50 age group from entering the shrine, and decided to hear a batch of review petitions in open court on January 22.
Sabarimala has been witnessing protests by Hindu groups ever since the September 28 verdict. The temple opened for the annual pilgrimage season on Friday.