Image for representational use only. Image courtesy: The New Indian Express
Barely a month ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in Kerala, K P Prakash Babu, BJP candidate from the Kozhikode constituency, has been remanded in judicial custody for 14 days in a case related to attacking a woman pilgrim who wished to pray at Sabarimala.
On Thursday, a judicial court in Ranni ordered a 14 day remand of Babu following an “attempt to murder” charge by the Pampa police. Last year on 6 November, the BJP Yuva Morcha State President led a mob and attacked a 52 year old woman, who had entered the temple during Chithira Atta Vishesham festival. One of the justifications the BJP offered for the attack was that, the woman appeared younger than her actual age.
Reportedly, KP Prakash Babu has been charged with 8 criminal cases including those under IPC Sections 143 (Punishment for whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly), 144 (Joining unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapon), 147 (Punishment for rioting), 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint), 308 (Attempt to commit culpable homicide), 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 120B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) read with 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object).
Last year, a five-judge Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court struck down the age restriction for women to enter the temple. Following this judgment, the state witnessed several attacks lead by the BJP and the Sabarimala Karma Samiti, especially on women who wished to enter the shrine.The BJP in Kerala condemned the decision and chose to violently protest. Section 144 was imposed on Pathanamthitta district.
On 1 January, breaking the existing tradition, two women of menstruating age, Kanaka Durga and Bindu Ammini entered the sanctum sanctorum and offered worship to Ayyappa. Later, these women faced a huge backlash and were threatened with rape and murder and their residence was attacked by the BJP activists in Kerala for which they had to seek protection from the police.