Won’t allow RSS to turn Sabarimala into another Ayodhya, says Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Tuesday he will not allow the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to turn the Sabarimala temple into another Ayodhya, referring to the disputed religious site in the Uttar Pradesh town.
“I will not allow the Sangh Parivar to make Sabarimala into another Ayodhya. There is a concerted bid to defame the state citing Sabarimala,” Vijayan said.
“BJP leaders and ministers are queuing up before Sabarimala to exploit the issue. The government will not allow anyone to fan trouble in Sabarimala,” he said.
The chief minister justified the action taken by the police on Sunday against protesting devotees, saying their intervention helped ease the situation at the shrine to Lord Ayyappa. The present security arrangements at the hilltop shrine will continue to check troublemakers, he added.
Police arrested more than 70 devotees late on Sunday for flouting prohibitory orders outside the Sabarimala temple. The situation at the hilltop shrine was peaceful on Tuesday after Sunday night’s incident.
The temple in Sabarimala opened on Friday for a 64-day pilgrimage, the third time since the Supreme Court lifted restrictions on the entry of women between the age of 10 and 50. There was a string of protests in Kerala in October when the temple opened for the first time after the Supreme Court’s September 28 order.
Traditionalists, who believe the presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is celibate, had opposed the court verdict and last month stopped dozen-odd women who tried to enter the temple.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress attacked the Kerala government after the arrest of the devotees on Sunday.
The BJPs state chief PS Sreedharan Pillai said on Monday there was a “police raj” in Sabarimala and that the pilgrimage to the hilltop shrine to Lord Ayyappa was being affected due to their highhandedness as he demanded a judicial probe into the incident.
The leader of Opposition in the Kerala assembly Ramesh Chennithala asked if Kerala was under Nazi ruler Adolf Hitler’s rule. The senior Congress leader accused the government of trying to “brand” Ayyappa devotees as Sangh Parivar activists and thus helping RSS recruit people to its fold.
Chennithala and Oommen Chandy, the Congress’ general secretary, led a march of the United Democratic Front (UDF) on Tuesday to the hilltop shrine, which will flout the prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc). They were stopped at the base camp in Nilakkal by police and allowed to proceed to Pambha, second base camp. Pambha is 5.5km away from hilltop.