#SabarimalaRow: Kerala ashram, run Swami who supports SC verdict, attacked
In yet another incident of an outburst against the Supreme Court's Sabarimala verdict, an ashram founded by a preacher who supported the verdict was set ablaze, supposedly by enraged Ayyappa devotees, near Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala early on Saturday. The attack took place at around 2.30am, but thankfully, no one was injured. Police have registered a case, and a manhunt is on. Here's more.
In the attack, two cars - a Maruti Suzuki Omni and a Honda CRV - along with a scooter was set ablaze. The attackers also left a wreath in front of the hermitage. The ashram in question was run by Swami Sandeepananda Giri, a vocal supporter of the Supreme Court's verdict allowing the entry of women of all ages to the Sabarimala temple.
Following the attack on the ashram, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan paid Giri a visit, and condemned the attack. Vijayan also pledged to not let anyone take law and order into their own hands. Meanwhile, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac alleged that the arson amounted to attempted murder as fires were started with the intention of destroying the ashram.
"Swami Sandeepananda Giri has been valiantly fighting the positions adopted by the Sangh Parivar on the Supreme Court order...In this ashram, only Swami and another person were living. The fire was started in a way to engulf the building...This is the extent they will go to attack the real devotees," said Isaac.
The attack on Giri's ashram comes at a time when unrest has spread across Kerala over the Supreme Court's Sabarimala Verdict. Protests and violence erupted across the state when the temple was opened to devotees for five days earlier this month, and women were not allowed entry. As of now, over 2,800 protesters have been arrested, and over 495 cases have been registered.