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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Supreme Court didn’t consider emotions of Hindus: Mohan Bhagwat on Sabarimala verdict

The leaders and several saints, including yoga guru Ramdev, were speaking at the Dharam Sansad organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which started on Thursday at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2019 15:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
The leaders and several saints, including yoga guru Ramdev, were speaking at the Dharam Sansad organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which started on Thursday at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.
The leaders and several saints, including yoga guru Ramdev, were speaking at the Dharam Sansad organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which started on Thursday at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.(PTI)

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has said the Supreme Court did not take into account the emotions of millions of Hindus in the country when it allowed women to worship at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala in September last year.

Mohan Bhagwat was speaking at the Dharam Sansad organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, which started on Thursday at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.

“… But the Supreme Court did not think that the honour of millions of Hindus will be hurt,” Bhagwat said in Hindi, according to news agency ANI.

“The court said if a woman wants to enter the Sabarimala temple then they should be allowed to do so and if someone is stopped she should be provided security to let them pray where everyone else does. But no woman devotee wants to go there, so a female devotee was brought from Sri Lanka and allowed to enter from the back door,” Bhagwat said.

The RSS has opposed the September 28, 2018, Supreme Court verdict that threw open the doors of the shrine to women of all ages, overturning a decades-old ban on the entry of female devotees between the ages of 10 and 50 years. It has argued that the ruling “violates the customs and traditions of the temple” and are in contravention to the “deity’s own rules”.

It has been campaigning in Kerala and outside for allowing the temple to continue the tradition. The state’s ruling Left Democratic Front vowed to uphold the court order.

The temple in Sabarimala has witnessed a string of protests in Kerala after the Supreme Court in its order in September last year lifted restrictions on the entry of women between the age of 10 and 50. Traditionalists, who believe the presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is celibate, had opposed the court verdict and have stopped dozens of women who tried to enter the temple.

The state’s ruling Left Democratic Front has vowed to uphold the court order and at least two women have entered the shrine under police protection. On his part, Kerala’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said he will not allow the RSS to turn the Sabarimala temple into another Ayodhya.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh are banking on the Sabarimala controversy to pull the party to political prominence in the southern state of Kerala, just as the Ram Janamabhoomi movement lifted the party’s fortunes decades ago in the north.

The BJP has been trying to widen its political footprint in the coastal state, considered a communist bastion, where the RSS runs over 5,000 shakhas, the highest in the country.

‘Attack on Hindu culture’

The controversy over the Sabarimala temple was a well-planned move to attack Hindu culture, VHP leaders said earlier as it drew a parallel between the shrine in Kerala with the disputed religious site of the Ram Temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya.

The VHP also assured its full support to Hindu organisations spearheading the Sabarimala movement as it blamed the Left-led Kerala government for the controversy over allowing women of menstrual age to worship at the hilltop temple of celibate god Lord Ayyappa.

Calls for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya by Hindu groups have become louder in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections this summer. Hindu groups, including the BJP’s ideological mentor the RSS, have called the central government to bring a legislation to build the temple.

Resolution for Ram Mandir

Earlier, senior leaders of the VHP said a resolution pledging a commitment to build the Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya is expected to be adopted at the two-day religious parliament.

The VHP leaders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, gave the indication after Shankaracharya of Jyotishpeeth Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati said he would lead Hindu religious figures in performing the shilanyas or foundation-laying ceremony of a grand shrine to Lord Ram in Ayodhya on February 21.

On Wednesday, the Shankaracharya had appealed to Hindus to be ready to face bullets but also added that no one should revolt. He made the appeal at the three-day ‘Param Dharam Sansad’ where he also announced that February 21 had been set as the final date for going to Ayodhya for laying the foundation of Ram temple in the holy town.

The Shankaracharya’s announcement came a day after the Centre filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking permission to transfer “surplus” land adjacent to the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site to its original owners.

The dharamadesh or a religious edict issued by the Dwarka Peeth Shankaracharya after the Dharam Sansad urged Hindus to reach Ayodhya carrying four bricks each. The planned ceremony is being called ishtika nyas, or the laying of bricks.

The Shankaracharya said the sadhus will begin their march to Ayodhya from Allahabad after Basant Panchami on February 10.

He also criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government for not bringing a legislation to enable the construction of the temple despite an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha.

The seer said the government demonstrated this majority when a bill to provide reservation in government jobs and educational institutes for the economically weaker sections was passed in Parliament.

“The government will consider all the demands and issues raised during the Dharam Sansad at Kumbh,” Uttar Pradesh energy minister and state government spokesperson Shrikant Sharma said in a phone interview from Hathras.

At the Dharam Sansad, Hindu religious figures are also likely to discuss bestowing the status of national animal on the cow. They may also demand a law imposing a strict ban on cow slaughter.

Other issues expected to be discussed at the Dharam Sansad include ensuring a free flow of the Ganga, improving its water quality, a ban on religious conversions and ensuring the teaching of the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures in schools.

The VHP’s vice-president Jiveshwar Mishra said the programme for the event had been set by religious figures and any decision made by them is acceptable to the Parishad, which was once at the forefront of the temple campaign, without any reservations.

The top leadership of the VHP, as well as the RSS, will be present on the same platform during the meeting of religious figures. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is expected to arrive at the Kumbh Mela tent city from Kanpur while the sahkaryavah (general secretary) Bhaiyyaji Joshi is already at the RSS camp.

Before the Dharam Sansad began, the VHP working president Alok Kumar, vice-president Mishra and general secretary Milind Parande held a closed-door meeting on Wednesday evening.

The Dharam Sansad would be held between 1pm and 5pm on both Thursday and Friday.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jan 31, 2019 14:43 IST

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