The Kerala High Court has granted anticipatory bail to two VHP activists who had pepper sprayed activist Bindu Ammini when she went along with other activists to the Kochi city police commissioner's office to seek police protection for entering the Sabarimala Temple in 2019.
While granting bails to Pratheesh R and CC Rajagopal, the court observed that there is no doubt that the entry of women activists in Sabarimala was controversial and that the Kerala government had supported the entry of women activists.
The BJP, RSS and other Hindu organisations had protested against the entry of women activists in Sabarimala in 2018. The Kerala government, however, had supported the activists to enter the temple the same year despite the protests.
According to the Court it was an accepted fact that Bindu Ammini was an activist and not a devotee and that the accused, Pratheesh R and CC Rajagopal, in the case were BJP-RSS leaders.
The court stressed that the allegations against the accused are prima facie deceptive as Bindu had not mentioned the involvement of the accused when her statement was recorded. However, the applicants were added in only later. The Court also noted that there is no testimony or other evidence that Pratheesh or Rajagopal were present at the incident site. Also, it was only 11 months after the incident that they were charged in the case, said the court.
The court even directed the police to release them on bail with a bond of Rs 50,000 and two sureties of equal amount, if arrested. The order further says that if not arrested then the accused ones have to surrender within 15 days.
According to the case, the incident took place on November 26, 2019, at around 7:20 am when Bindu Ammini reached the Ernakulam City Police Commissioner's office seeking police protection to accompany activist Trupti Desai to go to Sabarimala temple