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Man assaulted for backing young women who wanted to visit Sabarimala

Sangeeth was attacked with sticks and stones in Malappuram, Kerala, leaving him with cuts and bruises

By Our Special Correspondent in Bangalore

  • Published 30.11.18, 4:11 AM
  • Updated 30.11.18, 4:11 AM
Sabarimala temple.
Sabarimala temple. Telegraph file picture

A group of men suspected to be Sangh parivar workers assaulted a man on Wednesday night, a week and a half after he expressed solidarity with three young women who had publicly spoken of their desire to visit the Sabarimala temple.

The men, numbering around 30, attacked Sangeeth with sticks and stones in Malappuram, Kerala, leaving him with cuts and bruises on his hands and ear.

Sangeeth, in his mid thirties, said he was at a temple festival in Nilambur when the men approached him. “They asked if I am the man with the women who supported the entry of young women to Sabarimala. So I said ‘yes’. What followed was heavy blows with sticks and stones, mainly targeting my head,” he told reporters. Sangeeth has since been hospitalised.

A youth named Rajeesh, however, filed a counter-case, accusing Sangeeth of assaulting him under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Police have recorded the statements of both.

Aji Thomas, secretary, Yuva Morcha, the BJP’s youth wing in Kerala, said: “As per the information I have, Sangeeth was drunk and under the influence of cannabis when he openly challenged some local boys and attacked them with an iron rod.”

Wednesday night’s incident had nothing to do with the BJP, Thomas said, but admitted the possibility of a “retaliatory strike” by people Sangeeth had “attacked”.

Sangeeth was part of a November 19 media conference in Kochi where Reshma Nishant and Shanila Satheesh and V.S. Dhanya — all in their twenties — said they wanted to visit Sabarimala, long out of bounds for women of childbearing age till the Supreme Court lifted the ban in September.

The three had, however, said they were prepared to wait because of the prevailing tension and the Sangh parivar’s continued opposition to the entry of young women into the shrine.

Sangeeth had then said he had made 12 trips to Sabarimala over the years but would make the next visit only with women of childbearing age. Anupama Sivakami, a rights activist who led the women devotees to the media conference, was the first to come under attack.

Suspected Sangh activists vandalised her home in Malappuram, breaking windowpanes in a surprise attack on the night of November 21.

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