Pamba: Union minister and BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan reached Nilakkal, the base camp of Sabarimala on Wednesday, and flayed the authorities over lack of facilities for pilgrims.
The union minister got into an altercation with SP Yathish Chandra, asking the senior cop on why private vehicles were not being allowed to go to Pamba from Nilakkal.
However, the senior cops explained that KSRTC buses were taking pilgrims to Pamba and if private vehicles too ply through the region it would lead to traffic blocks. Yathish Chandra asked whether the union minister would take responsibility in case of traffic blocks. The minister was forced to reply in the negative.
BJP general secretary AN Radhakrishnan, who was with the minister, asked the cop on why he was questioning the minister without doing his duties. AN Radhakrishnan has sought action against Yathish Chandra.
The SP further said that if the union minister was to give orders, he would allow private vehicles to pass through. The minister then said he did not have the authority to do so.
Later, while talking to reporters, the minister refused to give his opinion on the Supreme Court order that allowed women of child-bearing age to enter the hill shrine.
Pilgrims treated as 'Gulag inmates'?
The union minister's visit comes a day after party president Amit Shah accused the Kerala government of treating pilgrims as 'Gulag inmates'.
Shah on Tuesday slammed the CPM-led government's handling of the situation as 'disappointing' and accused it of making pilgrims spend nights next to 'pig droppings'.
In a series of tweets, Shah said, "If several reports of flushing resting places for devotees and them having to spend nights next to pig droppings and dustbin are true, then Pinarayi Vijayan must realize that he can't treat Ayyappa devotees like inmates of Gulag. We won't let LDF crush people's faith with impunity."
Gulag was a system of forced labour camps established during Joseph Stalin's rule in the Soviet Union.
Shah's comments underlined his party's support to devotees protesting against the state government's move to implement the apex court order that allowed the entry of women of all groups to the temple.
CM hits back
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan lashed out at the BJP and right-wing outfits, accusing them of exploiting the Sabarimala issue for their 'political gains' and trying to 'capture' and take control of the hill-top shrine.
In hard-hitting remarks, he alleged that the Sangh Parivar's agenda was to create trouble by sending 'kar sevaks' to take control of the temple and make the pilgrims 'scapegoats'.
The Chief Minister also referred to a BJP circular through which, he said, it had planned to deploy its cadre in an organised manner at Sabarimala to ensure that no young women would enter the shrine on the strength of the September 28 court verdict.
"As per the circular of the BJP, they would be sending the 'karsevaks' with a hidden agenda to capture and take control of Sabarimala," Pinarayi alleged.
He also pointed to statements reportedly made by BJP state chief P S Sreedharan Pillai, including that the Sabarimala issue was an 'opportunity for the Sangh Parivar' and the saffron party and their agitation was 'not against women's entry' but against the Communist party.
"Pillai has made it clear earlier itself that Sabairmala issue was a good opportunity for the Sangh Parivar," the CM said.
Alleging that the Sangh Parivar has a 'doctorate in peddling fake news', he said it has unleashed 'fake campaign' against the state maligning its image.
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