Kerala HC grants bail to BJP candidate from Kozhikode

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KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday granted conditional bail to Prakash Babu, who is the BJP's candidate for Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency.


While granting bail to Babu, Justice Alexander Thomas directed him to appear before the investigating officer on the second and fourth Saturdays every month after the Lok Sabha elections for four months.

The court also directed the accused cannot enter Pathanamthitta district for three months except for reporting to the police.

The court ordered him to submit two solvent sureties of Rs 2 lakh each and surrender his passport.

Babu is pitted against M K Raghavan of the Congress and A Pradeep Kumar of the CPI-M in Kozhikode.

Prakash Babu was arrested in a case related to an alleged attack on a woman devotee in Sabarimala temple last November.

On November 6, he had blocked a 52-year-old woman, Lalitha, who had come for the 'choorunu' (rice feeding ceremony) of her grandson, when the temple had opened for the special pooja 'chitira aatta vishesham, the birth anniversary of Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, the last king of Travancore.

Besides Pradeep Kumar, four other BJP-RSS leaders — V V Rajesh, Valsan Thillankeri, BJP Pathanamthitta candidate K Surendran and RSS leader R Rajesh were also booked under the same charge.

The alleged attack took place amid protests against the implementation of the Supreme Court's verdict permitting women of menstrual age to enter the shrine.

On March 28, he was sent to jail by a court in Ranni in Pathanamthitta district in connection with the case. He was arrested soon after he launched his election campaign.

Earlier, Prakash Babu had approached the HC after a local court refused to grant him bail.

The state had witnessed huge protests by Lord Ayyappa devotees opposing the entry of girls and women in 10-50 age group into the Sabarimala temple when the state government decided to implement the September 28 Supreme Court order.

On September 28, the five-judge bench headed by former Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra lifted the entry ban on women in the temple, saying the centuries-old custom at the shrine was not an essential religious practice and “the attribute of devotion to divinity cannot be subjected to the rigidity and stereotypes of gender”.

Traditionally, women of menstruating age or in the age group of 10 to 50 years were not allowed to enter the temple as the deity, Lord Ayyappa, is believed to be in the form of "Naishtika Brahmachari" (perennial celibate).

 

Image credit: My Nation

 

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