Kozhikode: Advocate K P Prakash Babu, who is the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate from the Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency in northern Kerala, received a rousing reception as he arrived in the city after securing bail in a case related to the Sabarimala temple agitation. A throng of supporters received Babu when he alighted at the railway station here on Friday, after his release from the subjail in Kottarakkara in south Kerala.
The activists of BJP's ladies' wing Mahila Morcha conducted a vehicle rally in town in solidarity with Babu. BJP state president advocate P S Sreedharan Pillai welcomed the candidate with a lotus garland. Later, he was taken in a procession, circling the town.
Babu said the government was haunting him for trying to protect customs and traditions.
The Yuva Morcha state president was arrested recently on charges of attacking a woman devotee in Sabarimala. He has been accused of attempting to murder her during her bid to visit the Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala during the Chithira Atta festival last November.
Seven more cases are pending against him over the Sabarimala protests and arrest warrants have already been issued. He had appeared before the Ranni Judicial Magistrate Court on Thursday seeking bail.
Babu was arrested after his first set of electioneering in all the seven Assembly constituencies in Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency. During his absence for 16 days, the other leaders and party workers were campaigning in the constituency. They went about under the banner "I am Prakash Babu (Njanum Prakash Babu)". The party workers wore mask with his picture and T-shirt with his face on it.
BJP state general secretary K Surendran was also taken into custody earlier in a case related to the attack on a 52-year-old woman who came to visit the shrine during the Chithira Atta festival.
Sabarimala became a battlefield after BJP supporters took to the street to protest the LDF government's move to implement a Supreme Court verdict allowing entry to women of all ages to the temple. On September 28, 2018, in a 4:1 judgment, the apex court said the ban on women in the child-bearing age group, whose presence in temple was considered to be "impure", violated their fundamental rights and constitutional guarantee of equality. Until then, only girls below 10 years and women over 50 years were allowed to visit the hilltop shrine in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district.