Thiruvananthapuram: In a crackdown on those who didn’t allow women of the “banned group” from entering the Sabarimala temple, Kerala police has arrested over 1,400 people. The arrests were made in 440 cases for attacks on police at Sannidhanam, Nilakkal and Pamba, said media reports on Friday. Arrests have mostly been made from Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Ernakulam. (Also read: Governor Meets Rajnath, Discusses Kerala Situation)

According to The Times of India, police have slapped IPC Sections 143, 144 and 148 for rioting and Sections of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, Arms Act and IPC Section 153A (dealing with creating communal tension). Police said verification was underway and more arrests were likely to follow. The daily said after a meeting with Chief Minister Pinayari Vijayan, police chief Loknath Behera had instructed all SPs to nab the culprits of Sabarimala violence.

Following Behera’s instructions, all districts formed special teams to specifically deal with the accused – who participated in violent activities – in their respective jurisdictions. The special branches in all districts were also activated and those who were mobilized and sent to Sabarimala were also being identified. Police were also dealing with communal and hate messages (related to Sabarimala) – circulated on social media, they said.

Police sources said that separate cases, based on sections of the IT Act, are being registered to deal with such messages. The cyber cells in each district have been asked to identify the social media groups which were circulating such messages and their data was being compiled. In Pathanamthitta district alone, police have arrested 154 people in 50 cases, reported the daily. Out of the arrested in Pathanamthitta, 74 have been slapped with non-bailable charges.