Pinarayi Vijayan claims RSS using Sabarimala issue to gain political mileage, accuses it of dividing people, police on communal lines

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of trying to make Sabarimala a place of violence for gaining political mileage out of it. He said that any such bid by the Sangh Parivar would be defeated and the interests of the devotees wold be protected.

"Nobody should think that Sabarimala can be converted into a place of violence. Criminals will not be allowed to concentrate at the shrine. If some criminals think so, they will be thrown out from there and the devotees shall be protected," Vijayan told media persons in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.

 Pinarayi Vijayan claims RSS using Sabarimala issue to gain political mileage, accuses it of dividing people, police on communal lines

File image of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. PTI

Condemning the protests against the women devotees between the age of 10 and 50 in the past one week when they tried to go to Sabarimala, Vijayan said that the women were turned away by protestors when they had reached for darshan even after the Supreme Court order.

He said that the state government cannot ignore the Suprme Court order allowing entry of women of all age groups, and it is committed to implement the court order.

"Any woman devotee who wishes to go to Sabarimala will be given protection in the background of the SC order. It's a govt which functions under the Constitution and it is bound to implement the SC order," he said.

The chief minister alleged that Sangh Parivar was trying to divide the people of Kerala on communal lines and it even tried to communalise even the police force, which has been doing a commendable job for the devotees at Sabarimala for decades together.

He alleged that Bharatiya Janata Party's state president PS Sreedharan Pillai called upon the devotees in the police force to "think over the issue" and thus tried to create a mutiny in the force.

The chief minister said that police have no religion or caste and any efforts to destroy the force's basic nature should be thwarted. He also ruled out any intelligence failure in Sabarimala and said that the police had succeeded in maintaining law and order at the shrine despite all protests.

Ruling out the Pandalam royal family's claims over the shrine, Vijayan has made it clear that Sabarimala temple is the property of Devaswom Board and other claims have no basis.

He also flayed the stand of the temple priests, or the tantris, who staged a protest and threatened to close the temple when two women under heavy police protection reached very close to the temple for the first time after the Supreme Court order.

The chief minister alleged that the priests tried to defeat the SC order and said that this stand could not be accepted. He reiterated that Devaswom Board is the sole authority to decide about closing and opening of Sabarimala temple, not the trantris.

"Their primary duty is to allow devotees for a smooth darshan, not to prevent them," he said.

Ruling out the allegations that the government was utilising temples' revenue, the chief minister said that government spent Rs 302.18 crore for making arrangements at Sabarimala for devotees last year. He also said that the Devaswom Board would take appropriate measures against its officials if they tried to stop women officials from entering Sabarimala as part of their duty.

Taking note of the protests by the devotees against the SC order, the chief minister said that initially people would not accept a change and it happened in the past also.

Citing the example of the Guruvayoor satyagraha of 1932, he said that the movement seeking entry for the people belonging to SC/ST and other lower castes faced massive protests from conservatives. He also noted that non-believers were leading the Guruvayoor satyagraha.

Vijayan alleged that BJP and Congress were trying to gain political mileage out of Sabarimala row. AICC and BJP supported the SC order initially and even termed it a historic verdict. Later they made a u-turn from their early stand and tried to create rioting in the holy shrine, he added.

Carrying out a scathing attack on Congress, he said some Congressmen tried to join Sangh Parivar in the Sabarimala agitation and it was not fair.

The chief minister pointed out that so many people filed review petition and Congress and BJP are yet to join them.

"We are committed to preserve and protect our secular nature of the state. Sangh Parivar is trying to destroy it. It tries to bring back conservative thinking. Congress tries to destroy itself by joining Sangh," he said.

Majoirity of the people in Kerala want to upkeep the secular nature of the state and the government is is with them, he said.

Updated Date: Oct 23, 2018 13:35:36 IST