An Ashram in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram, founded by a pontiff Swami Sandeepananda Giri who backed Supreme Court's verdict over allowing women of all ages to the Sabarimala temple was attacked by unidentified assailants on Saturday early morning.
The two cars and a bike belonging to Swami Sandeepananda Giri's School of Bhagavad Gita on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram were set on fire at around 2:30 am. Local media reported that a white Omni and a Honda CRV were also set ablaze. Reports said police have been posted in the ashram following the attack. Police have registered a case and are on the lookout for the attackers.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who visited the ashram this morning, condemned the attack. "Physical attacks happen when you can't deal ideologically. We will not allow anyone to take law and order in their hands. Those who are intolerant towards Swami's activities attacked his ashram," Mr Vijayan said.
Physical attacks happen when you can't deal ideologically. Will not allow anyone to take law and order in their hands. Those who are intolerant towards Swami's activities attacked his ashram: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan https://t.co/0ltdDg6hCp— ANI (@ANI) October 27, 2018
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac alleged that the arson was an attempt to murder. "Swami Sanderpanandha Giri has been valiantly fighting the positions adopted by Sangh Parivar on the Supreme Court order allowing women of all age groups to enter Sabarimala. In this ashram, only Swami and another person were living in the house. The fire was lit in a way to engulf the building. It's only when people from outside alerted the Swami that he got to know about the fire. Thankfully, the fire force reached quickly. This is the extent they will go to attack the real devotees," he said.
Sandeepananda Giri, who is also the director of the ashram, has reportedly faced threats after he supported the entry of menstruating age women into the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa.