Ponnar Sabarimala issue: Bandh in Kanyakumari against Kerala

Chennai: A bandh has been called today in Kanyakumari against Kerala for the high-handed behaviour of the police when Union Minister of State for Finance Pon Radhakrishnan visited Sabarimala as a pilgrim Wednesday.

Due to the bandh call by the BJP supporting their Member of Parliament, buses have stopped plying to Kerala. Also, buses coming into Kanyakumari from Kerala have stopped at the Tamilnadu border.

The exams to be held by Manonmaniam Sundaranar University in the district have been postponed indefinitely.

BACKGROUND

The BJP alleged that senior IPS officer Yatish Chandra allegedly behaved arrogantly with the Minister Wednesday. There were also reports that Radhakrishnan’s vehicle was intercepted when he was returning from the shrine early Thursday. But according to the Kerala police another vehicle, part of his convoy, was stopped on suspicion that Sabarimala protesters were travelling in it.

They said the car with the BJP workers arrived seven minutes after the minister’s convoy had passed, raising suspicion.

The police also released CCTV visuals in this regard. However, the BJP workers alleged that their car was stopped at multiple points by the police and they were harassed.

Talking to reporters at Coimbatore, Radhakrishnan said he saw a “master plan to destroy the Sabarimala hill in Kerala”.

“It seems there is a master plan to destroy the temple, as with these restrictions, the government wanted no devotees to come,” he said.

Radhakrishnan, who was on way to the shrine, Wednesday engaged in a brief altercation with the police at Nilackal over restrictions on private vehicles heading to Pamba, the last entry point to the Lord Ayyappa shrine. Asked if he would approach court over the incident, the Minister said, “We will think about it… if this is the situation for me, what would be the fate of the common man?”

With barricades en route, the area appeared to be a “battle field,” he said.

On the pretext of preventing anti-socials, devotees were being harassed, he charged. “This type of inhuman behaviour is not acceptable,” he said, and alleged that the police were seen moving with footwear on, leading to a suspicion that there was a “master plan” to destroy the sanctity of the shrine.

Criticising the police action, BJP leader M T Ramesh, said this was a “conspiracy” hatched by the Chief Minister’s office. BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai described the police action as “henious“, “illegal” and “very unfortunate”. “The CPI-M’s efforts to silence the Sangh Parivar workers will boomerang,” he said.

NT Bureau