A day after the Pathanamthitta Judicial First Class Magistrate court remanded him in 14-day judicial custody, senior Kerala Bharatiya Janata Party leader K Surendran got bail from the Kerala High Court in a case connected to an attack on a woman.
Surendran, who was arrested by the Kerala Police from the Sabarimala base camp about three weeks back, had already been sent to 14-day judicial custody by Ranni Grama Nyaayalaya Court on 23 November and was held in the Central Jail in Thiruvananthapuram.
On Thursday, the Pathanamthitta court extended his remand till 20 December in the case involving the attack on a 52-year-old woman who had arrived at the Sabarimala temple to take part in a ritual of her grandson. The incident dates back to 6 November.
The Kerala High Court heard Surendran’s bail plea on Thursday and reserved its verdict for Friday, 7 December. The BJP leader was granted bail on a surety of Rs 2 lakh.
Hearing his bail application, the court criticised Surendran’s actions stating that a “person holding responsible position should not have done such things. People should not unleash riots on the basis of religion”.
But the High Court also reportedly questioned the Kerala government for issuing a warrant against Surendran in a hurry and also pointed out at the long period of his remand.
Surendran was taken into custody on 17 November from Pamba town for breaking a police cordon. The police then reopened 15 other previous cases registered against him for various offenses, including eight in which his arrest warrants were pending.
He had earlier secured bail in all the other cases. He was asked by the court not to enter the Pathanamthitta district – where the Lord Ayyappa shrine is located – and also surrender his passport.
BJP leaders have argued that the Left front government in Kerala is foisting false cases upon Surendran. Party spokesperson MS Kumar said that State Minister for Devasoms Kadakampally Surendran has more than two dozen cases registered against him and yet he is walking around freely.
Surendran’s party colleague AN Radhakrishnan was on an indefinite hunger strike in front of the state secretariat for the last five days demanding his freedom.
Sabarimala has witnessed protests by Hindu groups since the 28 September Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the temple that hitherto banned girls and women aged between 10 and 50.
(With agency inputs.)