Kerala police arrest Ayyappa Dharma Sena leader

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A court in Ranni had cancelled his bail for breaching conditions

The Kerala police on Monday arrested Rahul Easwar, leader of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena (ADS), from a Government rest house in Palakkad.

A court in Ranni in Pathanamthitta had recently cancelled the bail accorded to Mr. Easwar in the high profile case relating to the attack on women journalists and pilgrims at Sabarimala in October.

A team from the South Police Station, Palakkad, took custody of Mr. Easwar. He was attending a meeting of Ayyappa Seva Sangham, an organisation involved in voluntary work at Sabarimala since the 1960s. The police said they would produce him in court soon.

Mr Easwar, a television personality, had repeatedly found himself on the wrong side of the law after he pitted himself in the vanguard of the agitation to prevent the entry of women between the age of 10 and 50 to Sabarimala.

He had also shot into public notice after he raised the ADS, purportedly to protect the traditions of the temple in the wake of the order of the Supreme Court on September 28 allowing the entry of women into the temple. The police had booked several members of the ADS on the charge of leading the assault against women journalists at Sabarimala and Nilackal on October 17 when the temple opened for the first time after the SC order.

The State police had also filed a report in the Ranni court last week that Mr. Easwar had disobeyed the bail conditions set by the judge and had not complied with his direction to report to the Pathanamthitta police station every Saturday.

Mr. Easwar told journalists that he could not make it to the station house on December 8 because he was away in New Delhi to appear in a television news debate. He had informed the police about his short absence in advance and had hurried back to present himself in front of the investigating officer on December 9.

However, the police arbitrarily decided that he had breached the bail proviso, he said. He added the police often granted accused persons a minimal scope of freedom to sign even if they reported a few hours late to the investigating officer, but they had denied him the latitude. The police had acted in vengeance, he alleged.

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