A 29-year old man was arrested today on charges of participating in the alleged assault of a woman pilgrim at the Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala, suspecting her to be of menstrual age.
Sooraj, hailing from Elanthur in Pathanamthitta district, was one of the main accused in the incident which took place on Tuesday when the hill shrine opened for the two-day-long “Chithira Atta Thirunal,” a special ritual.
Hundreds of devotees tried to attack and prevent a 52-year old woman, Lalitha Ravi, from offering prayers at the temple.
The man was arrested under non-bailable charges, the police said.
Investigation is on to nab the remaining accused, a police official said.
The man was arrested on the basis of digital evidence and photographs, he added.
The police have registered cases against 200 “identifiable” people for trying to prevent Ms Lalitha, who had come for the ‘choorunu’ (rice-giving) ceremony of her grandchild.
Clapping and chanting ‘Ayyappa Saranam’, a huge crowd of devotees surrounded Lalitha suspecting her to be of menstrual age, but police intervened and escorted her out.
The woman showed her Aadhaar card to them to prove that she did not belong to the “traditionally barred” age group of 10-50 years.
The police later escorted her to the shrine to offer prayers along with other women relatives.