KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday dismissed a bail plea by a man who was arrested last month, saying protests against the entry of women to the Sabarimala temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa were unacceptable.
"The protests at Sabarimala are not acceptable as it is against the verdict of the Supreme Court," a Kerala High Court bench said, rejecting the request for bail by Kochi resident Govind Madhusudhan.
'Protest in Sabarimala Temple is against the SC's verdict. The strike there is not justifiable', said Kerala High Court while rejecting bail plea of a native of Thrippunithura, who was one of the protesters stopping women devotees from entering in Sabarimala Temple&later arrested
— ANI (@ANI) November 8, 2018
"If the bail application is considered, it will send wrong signals and similar incidents will recur again," the court said.
Madhusudhan was arrested at the temple town during protests against the top court order allowing the entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50, effectively opening up the shrine to all women.
The police have arrested over 3,500 people and registered close to 540 cases.
Around 100 people are still in judicial custody.
The protesters last month prevented 12 women from entering the temple. Similar protests were seen when the temple opened for a day on November 5 when three women were forced to return without offering prayers.
Meanwhile, the BJP on Thursday embarked on a Rath Yatra to "protect" the traditions and rituals of the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala, which recently witnessed violent protests against the entry of women of menstruating age group.
The main Opposition Congress is also launching a series of yatras from Kasaragod, Alapuzha, Thiruvananthapuram, Thodupuzha and Palakkad to protect the faith, fight communalism and explain to the people the "politicisation" of the Sabarimala issue by the CPI(M) and saffron parties.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the 'Sabarimala Samrakshana Yatra', former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa sought the immediate intervention of the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government to end tensions at the hill shrine.
The Kerala government should "apply its mind" and show seriousness to end the impasse at Sabarimala, he said.
"We are not against the SC verdict. But sentiments of the people should be respected by one and all," he said, holding the ruling LDF and Congress-led opposition UDF responsible for the present impasse.
The Karnataka Opposition leader later flagged off the rath yatra being led jointly by BJP state President, PS Sreedharan Pillai and Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) President Tushar Vellapally, from Madhur Siddhi Vinayaka temple here.
The Rath Yatra will conclude at Erumeli near Sabarimala on November 13, when the Supreme Court is to consider the review petitions against its September 28 verdict permitting women of all age groups to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa shrine.
Meanwhile, Kerala PCC Working President, K Sudhakaran will take out a rally from Kasaragod this evening which will be inaugurated by senior Congress leader, MM Hassan.
Various Congress leaders will also be leading rallies from different districts in the coming days which will all culminate at Pathanamthitta, where the Sabarimala shrine is located, on November 15.
During the yatra, Congress will inform the people how the Sabarimala issue was "politicised" by the ruling CPI(M) and BJP, KPCC President Mullapally Ramachandran said.
BJP-RSS and various other Hindu outfits have been on the warpath against the Left government's decision to implement the apex court verdict.
The main opposition Congress has also made it clear that they were with the devotees.
The Ayyappa temple opened on Monday for the second time in three weeks for a two-day "Sree Chitira Atta Thirunal" special puja amid unprecedented security over apprehension of protests by those opposing the Supreme Court order, allowing women of menstrual age.
Tension had prevailed at the temple Tuesday as nearly 200 frenzied devotees tried to prevent a woman pilgrim, whom they suspected to be of menstrual age, from entering, prompting police to register cases against 200 persons.
(With PTI Inputs)