Violent protests continue at Sabarimala to prevent entry of women into the temple as per the directive of the Supreme Court. The ruling CPI-M led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government headed by Pinaravi Vijayan accuses the BJP and RSS responsible.
Contrary to the government charges, the BJP state leadership blame the government for its ineffective handling that led to protests. “Had the government filed a review petition challenging the Supreme Court bench verdict, things would have been different,” argues a senior BJP functionary. He alleges, the LDF government is bent upon to tarnish the image of Ayyappa temple and its genuine devotees.
Blocking devotees from proceeding to the Ayyappa Temple and forcing them to return by creating terror were part of the RSS-Sangh Parivar’s move to “destroy” Sabarimala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan charged in a Facebook post.
Making it clear that the government would not allow the temple to be turned into a “riot zone”, he said any attempt to check people from trekking the holy hills would be dealt with.
Reacting to developments at Sabarimala, BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai on Thursday demanded a judicial probe into the circumstances that led to the violence and lathicharge by police against protesters at Nilackal, the base camp.
The protesters were opposing the state government’s decision to implement the Supreme Court order, permitting women of all age groups into the Lord Ayyappa shrine.
Pillai said the police had “deliberately” triggered provocation and turned Sabarimala into a “war zone”.
The Left government should have placed before the Supreme Court sentiments of women devotees of Lord Ayyappa, Pillai added.
Addressing media, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said, “fascist forces were behind the violence and the government has no ulterior motive in implementing the Apex court order.
“During the press meeting, Surendran released an audio tape purportedly by a Hindu activist asking his followers to come to Sabarimala by wearing the sacred bead chain and customary “irumudikkikettu” (sacred bundle containing ghee-filled coconuts they offer to the deity) to defy prohibitory orders.
He charged that this was an attempt by Sangh forces and BJP to mobilise people at Sannidhanam (temple complex) to create trouble.
Surendran alleged that BJP was adopting double standards on the Sabarimala issue.
“The Centre is with you…why do not you bring an ordinance to overcome the Supreme Court verdict if you are sincere in opposing it,” the minister added.
Senior BJP leader and the party’s lone MLA in the state Assembly, O Rajagopal wanted the government to convene a special assembly session to discuss the developments of the Sabarimala issue.
Several people including mediapersons were injured and vehicles damaged after the protest by devotees turned violent resulting in police using baton-charge at Nilackal Wednesday.
Trouble broke out as the agitators continued to block vehicles of pilgrims and pelted stones, disregarding repeated requests by police to desist from such acts.
Meanwhile, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said the Supreme Court verdict has not taken into consideration the nature and premise of the tradition that has been accepted by society and has given rise to “divisiveness” in society.
He said questions such as why only the Hindu society experiences such repeated and brazen onslaughts on its symbols of faith, obviously arise in the public’s mind and lead to unrest.
“This situation is not at all conducive for the peace and healthiness of the society,” the Sarsanghchalak said in his annual Vijayadashmi address, the last before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, at the RSS headquarters here.
Decisions taken without considering all aspects and patiently creating mindset of the society will neither be adopted in actual practice nor will they help in creating a new social order, in tune with changing times and positions, he said.
“The situation arising out of the recent verdict on Sabrimala temple shows a similar predicament.
The nature and premise of the tradition that has been accepted by society and continuously followed for years together were not taken into consideration,” Bhagwat said.
“The version of heads of religious denominations and faith of crores of devotees was not taken into account.
The plea by a large section of women, who follow this tradition, was not heard too,” he noted.
The verdict has given rise to unrest, turmoil and divisiveness in the society in place of peace, stability and equality, the RSS chief said.
Bhagwat said, “Nowhere in the world, healthy and peaceful social life has ever thrived and can thrive merely based on laws and fear of punishment.”