The Kerala High Court Friday granted conditional bail to BJP general secretary K Surendran in a case related to the alleged attack on a 52-year old woman pilgrim by frenzied Lord Ayyappa devotees at the Sabarimala Temple on November 6.
Justice V Raja Vijayaraghavan directed Surendran to surrender his passport, not to enter the Pathanamthitta District, in which the Lord Ayyappa temple is located, till the charge sheet in the case is filed and furnish a bail bond of Rs two lakh.
During the hearing, the state government had strongly opposed the relief, saying Surendran, if released on bail, would attempt to incite violence at the hill shrine. This is the second case related to the Sabarimala protests in which the BJP leader had been granted bail. He was initially arrested on November 17 from Nilackal, base camp, while on way to the Sabarimala Temple after he attempted to defy prohibitory orders and refused to go back despite a request from the police.
Surendran was granted bail in the case on November 21 by a court in Pathanamthitta, but remained in prison till date as he was also booked in the case related to the alleged attack on the woman pilgrim. The woman pilgrim, who had come to the Sannidhanam for the 'choorunu' (rice feeding ceremony) of her grandchild, was blocked and allegedly attacked by angry devotees on November 6, during a special puja, suspecting her to be in the "barred" age group of 10-50.
Sabarimala had witnessed violent protests by a section of devotees against the state government's decision to implement the September 28 order of the Supreme Court, allowing entry of women of all age groups into the shrine. The BJP has criticised the state government over the arrest of Surendran.
(With inputs from agencies.)