Thiruvananthapuram: BJP will begin the next level of agitation in Sabarimala issue after the hunger protest in Kerala, said BJP state president PS Sreedharan Pillai. “After the hunger protest, BJP will start next level of agitation in Sabarimala issue. The party will start an interaction with people for the next two weeks as part of the agitation,”Pillai stated.

The BJP state president reportedly said that the party had not been fully successful as some women managed to enter the temple during the Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season. A report by The Indian Express quoted Pillai as saying, “Even though we were unable to achieve 100 per cent success, we were able to garner more public support due to the blessings of Lord Ayyappa.”

After nearly four months since the Supreme Court’s verdict, two women Bindu and Kanakadurga (aged below 50) entered the Lord Ayyappa temple to offer prayers. Violence erupted following the entry of the two women. Agitators threw stones and blocked the national highways. A purification process also took place in the temple on account of the women having entered the holy shrine.

The hunger strike was announced on December 3 following the arrest of BJP leaders who held protests against the entry of women into the holy shrine. The hunger strike was conducted outside the Secretariat. The strike was called forth by party general secretary A N Radhakrishnan. It was taken care of by general secretary C K Padmanabhan, and later by Shobha Surendran. On 13th December, a 55-year-old Ayyappa devotee named Venugopalan Nair self-immolated near the BJP’s protest venue of the BJP in front of the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram over the Sabarimala issue. After suffering 90 per cent of burns, he succumbed to his injuries.

On September 28, the Supreme Court had lifted the ban which prohibited women of menstruating age to enter and offer prayers at the Sabarimala temple.

(With Agency inputs)