The Hindu Aikyavedi, BJP and other Hindu organisations are staging a hartal today (on November 2) in Pathanamthitta district to protest the death of a Lord Ayyappa devotee allegedly due to police action at Nilakkal near Sabarimala. Sivadas, 60, a resident of Pandalam, went missing from October 18. The decomposed body was recovered on November 1 at Laha on the way to Sabarimala.
Although the police tried to drive home the message that the victim did not die in police action and could have died in a mishap, BJP president Advocate Sreedharan Pillai insisted that the victim died due to police action. Sivadasan, an ardent devotee of Ayyappa, used to visit Sabarimala every month when the doors of the temple are opened for five days. He goes on his bicycle.
The BJP chief called for a judicial probe into the incident as this is a clear case of murder by policemen. The police had undertaken a brutal crackdown on devotees who were peacefully staging nama japa (prayer protest). The police destroyed vehicles and innocent people were tortured. The Kerala High Court has taken note of the incident and asked the state government to take action against policemen who indulged in violence and brutality. The recovery of the body has triggered outrage in the state. The relatives said they had approached the police several times but they did not take any serious action.