Sabarimala temple body hits streets again, protests outside Secretariat
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who addressed a rally in north Kerala’s Kozhikkode on Friday made it clear that Sabarimala remained the party’s main poll plank in the state.Updated: Apr 14, 2019 10:17 IST
The Sabarimala Karma Samiti, an apex body of various Hindu organisations opposing the September 28 verdict on the hill temple, began its hymn- chanting protest outside the state secretariat on Saturday seeking the withdrawal of cases against its workers.
It alleged that the police were hounding its workers and most of them could not carry out their routine activities due to innumerable cases. After the Supreme Court verdict, which allowed women of all ages to worship at the temple, the state had witnessed widespread violence. At the height of the agitation three months ago, more than 10,000 people were booked.
“Most of them have been booked under non-bailable offences for chanting hymns. The police crackdown on believers is continuing. Some workers are facing 30 to 40 cases at different places. We want the government to withdraw these trumped up cases,” said Samiti leader K S Sasikala. The state had observed a shutdown when she was arrested last November on her way to the temple. She said sacrifices of devotees won’t be wasted and their Samiti would strengthen its stir in the coming days.
However, opponents said it was a move aimed at helping BJP candidates and to keep the Sabarimala pot boiling. “It shows Sabarimala failed to make much impact in the campaign. So BJP leaders are pushing the Samiti to the war path again,” a senior leader of the ruling CPI (M) said.
Sniffing an opportunity, the BJP, a distant third runner in the state, is using the emotional issue to its hilt for political dividends. Senior leaders of the Sangh Parivar said the Samiti was forced to hit the streets again after its struggle failed to reflect in the ongoing poll campaigning.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who addressed a rally in north Kerala’s Kozhikkode on Friday made it clear that Sabarimala remained the party’s main poll plank in the state. Without mentioning the temple’s name, he said his party was committed to protect the age-old beliefs and customs of the people. He said in the name of a verdict some forces were trying to trample traditions of a large chunk of the people and promised Constitutional protection to them.
BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai said the party would not follow the state electoral officer’s instructions to avoid mentioning Sabarimala during the campaign. “It is an issue that affected a large number of people. How can we omit it completely? We will raise it,” he said. The party candidate from Thrissur, Suresh Gopi, also an actor and Rajya Sabha MP, is in trouble for invoking the deity of the temple during the campaigning.
First Published: Apr 14, 2019 09:17 IST