The Kerala High Court on Thursday turned down a bail plea by a man arrested last month, saying protests against the entry of women to the Sabarimala temple were unacceptable.

“The protests at Sabarimala are not acceptable as it is against the verdict of the Supreme Court,” a High Court bench said, rejecting the request for bail by Kochi resident Govind Madhusudhan.

“If the bail application is considered, it will send wrong signals and similar incidents will recur again,” the court said.

Madhusudhan was arrested at the temple town during protests against the entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50, effectively opening up the shrine to all women.

The police have arrested over 3,500 people and registered close to 540 cases. Around 100 people are still in judicial custody.

The BJP in Kerala on Thursday embarked on a “Rath Yatra” from Kasaragod to “protect” the traditions and rituals of the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala.

The main Opposition Congress is also launching a series of yatras from Kasaragod, Alapuzha, Thiruvananthapuram, Thodupuzha and Palakkad to protect the faith, fight communalism and explain to the people the “politicisation” of the Sabarimala issue by the CPI(M) and saffron parties.

Protests erupted on the second day of the reopening of the Sabarimala temple on Tuesday after the entry of a 52-year-old woman devotee to the hill shrine was opposed by agitating devotees claiming that she was below 50 years of age.

Amidst protests, journalists were heckled and a cameraperson was injured at the base camp in Pamba.

The Supreme Court on September 28 overturned a centuries-old practice that barred women of menstrual age (10-50 years) from entering the hill temple, where celibate deity Lord Ayyappa is worshipped.

The temple which opened its doors for a five-day monthly pooja on October 17 witnessed massive protests by various devotee groups and Hindu outfits against the Pinarayi Vijayan government’s decision to implement the apex court order without going for any review petition.

Though attempts had been made by some young women, including an activist, to enter the temple of the ‘Naishtik Brahmachari’, the eternally celibate deity, the devotees backed by priests stood their ground, saying they would not allow the tradition to be breached.

According to police sources, 12 women in the 10-50 age group were prevented from offering worship at the temple, since it opened for the monthly pooja.

(With inputs from IANS)