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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Kerala ignored sentiments while implementing Sabarimala verdict, says RSS

The RSS also called upon all the stakeholders including spiritual and community leaders to come together to analyse and address the issue availing judicial options also.

india Updated: Oct 03, 2018 20:24 IST
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh appeared to criticise the Kerala government for rushing to implement the Supreme Court verdict on entry of women into Sabarimala temple, underscoring that the sentiments of devotees cannot be ignored while considering the verdict.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh appeared to criticise the Kerala government for rushing to implement the Supreme Court verdict on entry of women into Sabarimala temple, underscoring that the sentiments of devotees cannot be ignored while considering the verdict.(PTI)
         

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Wednesday appeared to criticise the Kerala government for rushing to implement the Supreme Court verdict on entry of women into Sabarimala temple, underscoring that the sentiments of devotees cannot be ignored while considering the verdict.

In a statement, the RSS also called upon all the stakeholders including spiritual and community leaders to come together to analyse and address the issue availing judicial options also.

“They must convey their concerns on their right to worship in a manner which best suits their faith and devotion, to the authorities in a peaceful manner,” the statement by RSS general secretary, Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi, said.

The statement comes just a day after the Kerala BJP called for a meeting at Kochi on Monday next to firm up strategy and floated the demand for filing a review petition in the Supreme Court. The BJP unit also asked the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to bring in an ordinance to reverse the impact of the top court’s verdict.

The Supreme Court had opened the doors of Sabarimala to women of all ages in a 4-1 judgment on Friday, annulling the centuries-old tradition of the temple to deny the right of worship to women aged between 10 and 50 years.

The RSS said while everyone respects the different temple traditions followed by devotees in India, “we have to also honour the Honourable Supreme Court”.

In this case, however, it underlined that it is an issue of a local temple tradition and faith to which sentiments of millions of devotees, including women, are attached. “These sentiments of the devotees cannot be ignored while considering the judgement,” the court said.

“Unfortunately, the Kerala Government has taken steps to implement the judgement with immediate effect without taking the sentiments of the devotees into consideration. There is an obvious reaction to the same by the devotees, especially women, who are protesting against the forceful breaking of the tradition,” the RSS statement said.

Hours earlier, the Kerala chief minister had described calls for protests against the verdict as a “serious” matter and stressed that his government had to abide by the verdict of the Supreme Court.

“It is the responsibility of the government to implement the court order without any compromise. We will ensure to make necessary arrangements for the women devotees in the upcoming season itself,” Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Wednesday’s statement from the RSS is seen to be in sharp contrast to the Sangh’s earlier stated position of backing women’s equality.

In 2016, after the annual meeting of the Sangh’s highest decision making body, the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha, the Joshi had said: “…Because of some unfair traditions, at certain places there has been a lack of consensus on the question of temple entry. Such sensitive issues should be resolved through discussion and dialogue and not through agitations.”

“Women go to thousands of temple across the country but in reference to some, where their entry is an issue; there is a need to change the mentality. Management of such temples should also understand this,” he had said.

Is the RSS’s fresh statement is an indication that the Sangh is hedging its bets?

J Nandakumar, a senior RSS functionary and national convenor of Prajna Pravah said the Hindu faith does not believe in gender discrimination, but the issue has upset the devotees.

“The judgment should have considered the sentiments of the devotees. While Hinduism is not monolithic, each temple has its own traditions on account of social and historical reasons. Therefore, there cannot be a blanket judgment. It is the right of devotees to come up with a solution,” he said.

Historian Mridula Mukherjee said the issue of women being discriminated against has been dealt with by the court and their decision should be respected. “We need to respect the SC judgment because the court has gone into all the aspects of the issue to do away with discrimination against women,” she said.

First Published: Oct 03, 2018 20:18 IST