New Delhi: Activist Rahul Easwar, who spearheaded the protests in Sabarimala Temple, was arrested on Sunday for allegedly making a provocative statement on the ongoing row, news agency ANI reported. He was taken into custody under Section 153 (Wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Also Read - Sabarimala Temple Prepares To Reopen For Annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku Season, Kerala Govt Urges to Follow COVID-19 Protocols

Police said that a case was registered against Easwar, who belongs to the Thazamon family of Sabarimala tantris (priests), on the basis of a complaint filed by a Thiruvananthapuram native. Also Read - Sabarimala Temple to Reopen For 5 Days From October 16 Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, 250 People Allowed in a Day

Easwar had said they had a contingency plan to force the closure of the temple by spilling blood on its premises by some devotees in case any woman in the ‘barred’ age group managed to reach it. He had claimed that 20 Lord Ayyappa devotees opposing the entry of women in the age group of 10 and 50 were ready to inflict knife injuries on themselves on the temple premises which would have forced the priests to close the gates on account of impurity Also Read - SP Balasubrahmanyam Health: Sabarimala Temple Performs Musical Puja For The Recovery of Renowned Singer

“Had their blood fallen on the floor of the temple, that would have forced the priests to shut the shrine for three days for purification rituals,” Easwar, President of the ‘Ayyappa Dharma Sena’, had said, while addressing a press conference in Kochi last week.

On September 28, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Apex Court, headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, had lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine. Since then the temple had witnessed high drama with around a dozen women in 10-50 age group being prevented from entering the temple by protesting devotees.

The Kerala High Court had on Thursday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation seeking barring of entry of women in the menstrual age group into the Sabarimala hill shrine till additional facilities were set up for them, and said the petitioner can approach the Supreme Court.

(With inputs from agencies)