In the latest turn of events in the row over Sabarimala temple in Kerala, the BJP state president has been caught revealing in a closed meeting that the ongoing series of agitations and violent protests were planned and orchestrated by the party. In an audio which surfaced on Monday, BJP State chief P S Sreedharan Pillai can be heard saying that he offered all the assistance to the Tantri- the chief priest of the temple- to subvert the verdict of the Supreme Court allowing the entry of women of all ages.
The Tantri, Kantararu Rajeevaru had discussed the much controversial option of closing down the doors of the shrine if the women of menstrual age enter the temple with him, Pillai said in his speech while addressing the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha.
“Though he was really afraid about the contempt of court before taking such a decision, I assured him that thousands of people would be with him and he won’t be alone,” Pillai described in his speech. “Since he got an assurance from us, he had proceeded with his decision of closing down the doors of the sanctum sanctorum,” said Pillai.
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“The Sabarimala row is a golden opportunity and people have fallen in the trap that we have made,” he further added. While mentioning about the tantri’s decision, Pillai also expressed his hope that he would stick on to his stand when the temple reopens.
‘BJP Attempting to Subvert Constitution’
While responding to Pillai’s statement, Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said that the leaked audio clip points to a very serious and appalling situation.
CPI(M), the leading party in the ruling left front government, expects that high-level institutions like the Supreme Court will understand the gravity of the situation and initiate required actions, he said.
“The conspiracy to violate the Supreme Court verdict is an attempt to subvert the Constitution. He has made a person like the Tantri, a pawn for criminal and illegal activities. It is the same political party that swears by religious belief that conspired to shut down the Ayyappa temple and hinder worship there. This shocking incident establishes that BJP will go to any extent for gaining political brownie points,” the party secretary said.
“The real intention of Sabarimala protest is to score political mileage and not for protecting belief or traditions,” he added saying that the alarm raised by his party has been proven correct. The party chief also requested the governor to initiate high level investigation in this matter.
On the other hand, the police installed mobile jammers near the Sabarimala temple to prevent the tantri and other shrine officials from interacting with the media and to dissuade live visuals.
The move came as the state police contingent deployed some 2,300 personnel for temple security ahead of the special one-day pilgrimage that will start on Monday at 5 p.m. and end on Tuesday 10 p.m.
After 8 a.m., many devotees were seen protesting by shouting slogans as the police stopped them for checking en route to Sabarimala. Private vehicles carrying pilgrims were also stopped.
Government Pulling All Stops to Implement SC Verdict
Starting late Sunday, a dozen women officers above the age of 50 have been posted in the temple town that had for a long time only witnessed police presence during the peak puja season. The state government has taken all necessary precautions to prevent any incident like the massive protests it witnessed against the September 28 Supreme Court verdict allowing hitherto banned age group of girls and women to enter the Lord Ayyappa shrine.
From October 17 to 22, when the temple was opened for the monthly puja, the temple tantri and officials had said that they would close the shrine if any female devotee from the age group 10 to 50 tried to enter the sanctum sanctorum, as it was against the temple tradition.
The Kerala government has announced it will implement the apex court ruling pitting it against the BJP and numerous Hindutva groups which have been up in arms against the verdict.
(Inputs from IANS)