The Kerala unit of the BJP observed a protest on Sunday by blocking highways across the state following the arrest and the subsequent remand of senior party leader K. Surendran.

BJP Kerala General Secretary Surendran was taken into custody on Saturday night after he got into a scuffle with the police while attempting to go to the Sabarimala temple despite police cordon in the area.

Surendran on Sunday was produced before a magistrate and remanded to 14-day judicial custody after he was charged with non-bailable offences.

Surendran, who had ‘Irrumudikettu” (holy bundle of offerings for Lord Ayyappa) was taken into custody from Nilackal Saturday night as he along with two others was on his way to the temple at Sabarimala.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader is currently at the Kottarakara sub-jail. Cases under IPC 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging his duty) and 34 IPC (acts done by several persons for furtherance of common intention) were charged against them by police.

Read | Sabarimala: Strike called in Kerala after Hindu woman leader’s arrest

Talking to the reporters before being remanded, Surendran said, “The police have charged me uunder non-bailable sections. I am no criminal, nor do I have any cases against me. They did not let me sleep, nor was I allowed water or to take my medicines.

“The police even roughed up my ‘Irumudi kettu’ (a mandatory holy kit to be taken to the temple).”

In reaction to the development, state BJP President P.S. Sreedharan Pillai told the media that Kerala was under “jungle raj”.

Protestors had gathered in large numbers in front of the Chittar Police Station last night soon after the BJP leaders and others were brought to the police station.

BJP workers had protested in front of the state secretariat at Thiruvananthapuram and across the state including Kochi, Kottayam and Kannur against the police action.

The temple opened its doors at 5 p.m. on Friday for two months.

The temple town has witnessed protests by Hindu groups since the September 28 when the Supreme Court allowed women of all ages to enter the temple that hitherto banned girls and women aged between 10 and 50.

The apex court last week refused to stay its earlier verdict.

 

(With inputs from agencies)