Kochi: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday pinned the blame on the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) for chaos and protests outside the Sabarimala Temple and held it responsible for preventing the women in the age group of 10-50 from entering the holy shrine.
Vijayan, while maintaining that the state government did its best to implement the Supreme Court order which allowed women of all ages to enter the holy shrine, said that the RSS turned the temple into a ”war zone” during the brief period the famed Lord Ayappa temple was opened for the pilgrims.
”Kerala government made it clear in front of the Supreme Court that it will implement the verdict. The government arranged all facilities. Neither the government nor the police tried to block the devotees. The RSS tried to make Sabarimala Temple a war zone,” Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan told ANI.
”Protesters tried to check vehicles, attacked women devotees and media persons. It was the first time in the history of Kerala that this type of attitude was shown towards the media,” the CM said.
The remarks from Vijayan came hours after the sanctum sanctorum of the famed temple was closed around 10 PM on Monday – the day that saw five women making an unsuccessful effort to pray at the hill temple, where tradition had barred women aged between 10 and 50.
Since Wednesday, Kerala had been on the boil after the temple opened for its customary monthly pujas, the first time after the September 28 verdict by the top court which overturned a centuries-old practice that barred women of menstrual age from entering the hill temple.
Celibate deity Lord Ayyappa is worshipped at the Sabarimala temple where the last pilgrim went up the hill around 7 PM on Monday.
None of the dozens of women who tried to have a darshan in the last five days succeeded in entering the temple for prayers as thousands of devotees were determined not to allow them.
The police appeared most relieved for the time being as they had a tough time in trying to implement the apex court`s orders in the face of strong protests which at times turned violent.
Te revered Hindu temple is set to open again on November 17.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday set November 13 as the date for hearing a large number of petitions seeking a review of the top court verdict that allowed entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala Temple.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul had considered the submissions of lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara on Monday that his petition seeking review of the constitutional bench judgement be listed for urgent hearing.
Nedumpara was mentioning the petition filed by National Ayyappa Devotees Association.
A five-judge constitution bench by a ratio of 4:1 had held that women of all age groups should be allowed entry inside Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple.
The court had on October 9 declined an urgent hearing on Nedumpara’s plea which had contended that the five-judge Constitution bench verdict lifting the ban was “absolutely untenable and irrational”.
The bench had said that the review petitions could only be taken up after the Dussehra vacation, adding that in any case, it will be heard in chamber and not in open court.
The petition filed by Shylaja Vijayan, president, National Ayyappa Devotees Association through Nedumpara, had submitted that, “Faith cannot be judged by scientific or rationale reasons or logic”.
NIA raids locations in western UP, Punjab over ISIS-inspired module probe
New Delhi:The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday morning conducted raids at several places in western Uttar Pradesh and Punjab in connection with the investigation into a suspected ISIS-inspired module. A case was recently registered against the suspected module.
Sources said that the police officials detained two persons for questioning from Athsaini village in Garhmukteshwar tehsil. They were being interrogated by the police till last report came in.
The agency rounded up a 50-year-old resident of Bulandshahr, who runs a general store and has spent over 25 years in Saudi Arabia.
Notably, this is the third time that raids have been conducted by the NIA in Hapur area of Uttar Pradesh while the searches in Amroha have been carried out for the second time.
Several teams of the counter-terror probe agency launched the searches simultaneously in Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha and Bulandshahr besides Punjab’s Ludhiana, and several places early in the day, a senior NIA official said.
The raids that were still underway, kicked off after the NIA got leads from those arrested during their interrogation. The agency is looking into the role of a foreign mastermind behind the new module.
The action comes in the wake of a case it registered on December 20 under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Explosive Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Armed robbers loot passengers onboard Jammu-Delhi Duronto Express
New Delhi: Unidentified assailants, carrying guns and sharp-edged weapons, barged inside two coaches of Jammu-Delhi Duronto Express and looted the passengers on Thursday morning.
A group of about seven to ten armed assailants robbed passengers onboard B3 and B7 coaches. The incident took place in the early morning hours in Badli station, on the outskirts of Delhi.
The incident came to light after a passenger filed a complaint through the railways’ complaints portal. Passenger Ashwani Kumar, in his complaint, claimed that passengers of B3 and B7 coaches of the train were targeted by the armed men as it neared the Delhi Sarai Rohilla station.
“As train number 12266, which stops only at its source and destination stations, was approaching the Delhi station, stopped at around 3:30 am awaiting signal, seven to 10 miscreants entered coaches B3 and B7 of the train,” Kumar said.
The miscreants snatched mobiles, gold jewellery, cash and other valuable items from multiple passengers. The entire robbery took place within 10 to 15 minutes.
A case has been filed.
Railway Protection Force (RPF) has initial leads in the case and action will be taken against culprits, said the Chief Public Relation Officer (CPRO) Northern Railways.
“The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has initial leads in the matter. The culprits will be nabbed soon and stern action will be taken against them,” a Northern Railway spokesperson said.
Kumar later added that the passengers tried to reach the train attendant and TT after the incident and found them after 20 minutes. “The irony is that neither staff nor security personnel were available there at the time of the mishap,” the passenger claimed.
The complainant claimed that when he could not find the TT or the attendant, he contacted the Delhi Police after which an FIR was registered at the destination station.
“… The attendant told us that there was no security personnel available in the train. We are not safe even in AC coaches and imagine the security in sleeper class and general coaches where passengers enter the train even without tickets… ,” Kumar wrote in his complaint.
Several persons took to social media questioning rail security and safety of passengers again with this incident.
The Jammu Tawi-Delhi Sarai Rohilla Express (Train no 12266) has a travel time of 9 hours with one halt at Ludhiana.
The Duronto Expresses are one of the fastest trains in India. It has only AC coaches.
SC partially strikes down stringent rules on Maharashtra dance bars
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside certain provisions of a law imposing restrictions on the licensing and functioning of dance bars in Maharashtra.
A bench headed by Justice A K Sikri quashed certain provisions of the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (Working therein) Act, 2016.
The top court allowed orchestra and added that tips can be given but showering of cash and coins is not allowed inside bars.
SC upheld the condition of fixed timings of dance bars in Maharashtra from 6 pm to 11.30 pm.
Supreme Court said, “There cannot be a total prohibition on dance bars. No licence has been granted by Maharashtra since 2005. There may be regulations but that should not amount to a total prohibition.”
The court quashed conditions of Maharashtra government of putting CCTV cameras in dance bars of Mumbai, giving licence to people of good character as ‘vague’.
It also repealed a rule that segregated dancing stage from the bar area where drinks are served.
The Court has also struck down a condition by which dance bars should be 1 km away from educational and religious places.
The top court has upheld a rule of Maharashtra government by which working women should have a contract so they can’t be exploited, however, quashed a rule of monthly salary for bar dancers.