BJP launches indefinite relay fast on Sabarimla issue

Thiruvananthapuram | Launching the second phase of its agitation on the Sabarimala issue, the Kerala BJP on Monday began an indefinite relay fast in front of the Secretariat here.

BJP state General Secretary A N Radhakrishnan began the fast. Party workers from each of the 14 districts in the state will also be participating in the protest. BJP MP Saroj Pandey, who inaugurated the fast, said the CPI(M)-led LDF government was acting against the will of people. “We will raise this issue in Parliament,” she said.

Describing the protest as a new beginning for the party in the state, Pandey said the state government will have to rethink on what they were doing on the Sabarimala issue. “The road for discussion should always be open,” she said.

The right-wing outfits have been up in arms against the Kerala government’s decision to implement the September 28 Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala. The opposition Congress-led UDF had said that they were with the believers on the matter.

A four-member BJP delegation comprising Members of Parliament Nalin Kumar Kateel, Pralhad Joshi and Vinod Sonkar have been camping in the state for past two days and spoke to Ayyappa devotees on the problems faced by them.

Pandey alleged the Sabarimala issue had “worsened” due to its “mishandling” by the state government. BJP state chief P S Sreedharan Pillai said the Communist government had arrested the saffron party leaders and workers in “false” cases. “It is jungle justice that is happening here,” he alleged. “We just want to say that it is not CPI(M)’s constitution, but India’s Constitution that is supreme,” Pillai said.

The BJP leader also dismissed media reports which said the party had stopped the protests over the Sabarimala issue. None of us have said so and truth is God, he said.

BJP MP Prahlad Joshi said the traditions at Sabarimala were being destroyed by the Communist government in Kerala. “We will study the situation and give a report to BJP national president Amit Shah,” he said.

Joshi said even under the British rule, the believers were not targeted and only freedom fighters were arrested. “This Communist government is harassing the believers and putting them in jail. Communist means those who lack love towards the country,” he said.

The BJP MP also warned the police officials who took stern action against protesters in Sabarimala and said an IPS officer “misbehaved” with a Union minister, referring to the spat between IPS officer Yatish Chandra and Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Pon Radhakrishanan when he visited the hill shrine.

“We will ask Pon Radhakrishnan to move a privilege motion against the officer. We warn that police officer, he will be summoned,” Joshi said. He also said if the Communist government continued to do the same, “it will be thrown into the Bay of Bengal”. Joshi said BJP leader K Surendran was arrested “for raising his voice against Pinarayi Vijayan and the latter’s corruption”.

Earlier, party MPs visited Surendran who is lodged at Poojappura central jail. Surendran was arrested last month for his alleged involvement in violent protests at Sabarimala.

The BJP MPs, however, alleged he had been falsely implicated in various cases as he raised his voice against the chief minister. “This is 100 percent political conspiracy to snub the BJP which is growing in Kerala. The BJP will fight for its workers. We will submit a report to Amit Shah,” they said.

The MPs had also met Governor P Sathasivam at Kochi on Sunday and sought his urgent intervention to ensure that peace and tranquillity returns to Sabarimala, where they alleged the situation was akin to an “undeclared emergency” imposed by the state government.

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