Aymanam panchayat near Kottayam witnessed a tense situation on Tuesday when members of the Prathyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha issued suicide threats following a decision by authorities to demolish a building belonging to the religious movement on the base of a court order.
The drama began to unfold in the morning when officials from the Aymanam panchayat along with a huge contingent of police, following an order issued by the Kerala High Court to raze the building, arrived at the scene. They were confronted by members of the religious group, who had positioned themselves on the building with bottles of kerosene.
As the police team advanced, the demonstrators threatened to set themselves on fire and waved slogans. As the standoff continued for hours, the district administration intervened in the case. A team led by a sub-collector and an assistant superintendent of police held discussions with protesters in an effort to de-escalate the situation.
Following discussions, the protesters agreed to hand over the property to the panchayat. “The protesters were quickly evicted and we returned after sticking a property acquisition order on the building,” an official said.
The Prathyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha center, which has been operating on site since 1962, serves as a prayer room for believers. The High Court ordered its demolition based on a petition filed by a local resident asking for the right of way.