The Kerala Police have arrested a total of 2,061 people so far, while cases have been registered against another 452 for protesting against the entry of women aged between 10-50 years into the Sabarimala Temple.
Briefing scribes about police action initiated in the wake of violent protests, Kerala Director General of Police (DGP), Loknath Behera asserted that suggestions are being taken about how to provide protection to the women.
“We have registered around 452 cases and arrested around 2,000 people so far. We have identified several others and more arrests will be made. We will do what must lawfully be done. We are taking suggestions from a police committee on how to provide protection to the women. We will discuss it with the government as well. Discussions are going on and we haven’t yet come to a conclusion,” Behera said.
A number of protests were staged after the doors of the Lord Ayyappa’s temple opened on October 17 for the first time after the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the holy shrine.
Entry of the females in the menstruating age-group was banned in the temple as Lord Ayyappa is considered to be a celibate; hence the temple authorities only allow girls aged below 10 and women aged over 50 into the shrine. However, there is no restriction on the entry of men.
On Wednesday, the police had issued a lookout notice for 210 people for their suspected involvement in instigating violence, manhandling journalists and devotees at Nilakkal, Pamba and Sabarimala last week during demonstrations. The notice has been sent to all district police chiefs.
A five-member constitutional bench of the apex court headed by the then Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra had delivered the verdict on September 28, 2018 allowing all women into Sabarimala.
However, not a single woman could enter the shrine owing to the widespread protests across the state. The temple closed down for the month on October 22 after it opened for five days as a monthly ritual in the Malayalam month of Thulam.