Sabarimala row: My police did not misbehave with union minister, says Kerala CM

Trivandrum: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday clarified that his state police did not misbehave with union minister Pon Radhakrishnan.

Vijayan’s statement comes a day after Radhakrishnan’s convoy was allegedly blocked by the Kerala Police while he was returning from the Sabarimala Temple in Pathanamthitta district.

While addressing the media in Trivandrum, Vijayan said: “Sangh parivar tried to create trouble last time also. Now the people and public know about it. They attacked women and children last time and so based on that we have made these restrictions so that the madalam season is peaceful.”

Further substantiating his point, he asserted, “When VIP vehicles come they are allowed from Nilackal to Pampa. Others have to take state transport bus. When the union minister arrived he wanted all vehicles of his convoy to be allowed, which the police could not accept. The minister himself spoke to the police and the personnel explained the reason to him with all due respect.”

Elaborating upon the Kerala High court’s 14-page-order the Chief Minister said, “The High Court has accepted the initiatives taken by the government. It is made clear that Section 144 was implemented to make pilgrimage smooth for real devotees. Police is responsible for making arrangements to ensure smooth darshan of devotees. This verdict has given complete permission to take action to ensure peace in Sabarimala.”

On Thursday, the bench of Judge PR Ramachandra and Judge Anil Kumar of the Kerala High Court had ordered that the imposition of Section 144 of the CRPC was meant for smooth movement of pilgrims.

The order read, “The situation is more relevant when pilgrims come in groups from far off places in various states. If any deed or misdeed on the part of any stakeholder creates apprehension/fear in the minds of such pilgrims, knowingly or unknowingly, that there is a chance for them to be segregated or restricted with regard to the entry or in offering the prayers then the system as it exists, cannot but be blamed.”

Vijayan further said, “People spreading messages that chanting Saranam mantras was stopped at sannidhanam are false.”

The November 21 court order said, “as far as possible, customary right of a community should not be disturbed.”

The Kerala chief minister reiterated that the devotees who have gone to Sabarimala have had smooth and peaceful darshan.

Citing the court order, he said: “There is no objection at all, either from the state or the police in respect of the pilgrims going to Sabarimala in groups or as individuals or in chanting the ‘saranamanthra’ and that the objection is only in respect of some identified persons with vested interest, posing themselves as pilgrims and may pursue acts leading to breach of peace, which has to be checked.”

The order also categorically mentioned about the ‘care and caution’ the police has to ensure so that it does not exceed the limit.

“There cannot be any dispute that, it is the duty of the police to look into all aspects and to see that there is no advancement from any insurgents in any manner to make use of the situation and intrude to Sabarimala spoiling smooth and peaceful pilgrimage of genuine devotees. With this intent it is also open for the police to conduct reasonable extent of search and analysis, which cannot be prevented,” read the order.

Hitting out at the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vijayan at the press conference alleged that the Centre has not compensated for the loss caused due to floods in the state as compared to the aid given to other flood hit states.

“We expected good help from the Centre. But, we have not got our due. Not just that those who came forward to help us like United Arab Emirates were also not allowed to help. We had sought Rs. 5,617 crore and a special package of Rs 5,000 crore. The studies claim that the loss is of Rs 31,000 crore. Centre has only given us Rs 600 crore so far,” said Vijayan.