A day after Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy spoke in favour of “respecting traditions” and called for preserving ancient customs regarding the highly contentious Sabarimala issue, his predecessor SIddaramaiah and chief of the coordination committee of the JD(S)-Congress coalition, has taken an opposite stand. “We should all bow down to the Supreme Court's decision on the issue of women's entry into the Sabarimala temple as per the Constitution,” the former CM tweeted on Friday.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, CM Kumaraswamy had said, “Whatever practices they have been doing for thousands of years should be preserved, violating these practices is creating a conflict,” adding that it was his personal opinion and not of the office of the Chief Minister.
Incidentally, SIddaramaiah’s stand is against that is taken by the Congress party in Kerala as well. The Kerala unit of Congress is vehemently opposing the landmark September 28 Supreme Court judgement, alongside the BJP.
The Constitution Bench led by former Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had ruled that women of all ages can enter the Sabarimala temple, as barring the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 was in contravention to Article 25 of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom to practice religion of choice.
Earlier, the entry of women in the menstruating age (10-50 years old) was banned by the provisions of The Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965, on the claim that Lord Ayyappa is a celibate for life.
However, as of Friday, no woman between the ages of 10 and 50 have been able to enter the temple, despite the Supreme Court verdict reversing the ban.
In fact, the whole district of Pathanamthitta, where the hill shrine is situated, turned to a battleground since Wednesday with angry mobs assaulting women including at least four journalists who were on their way to the temple. Section 144 was put in place and preventive detentions were carried out to contain the law and order situation. Even Rahul Easwar, leader of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena and member of the Tantri family was arrested and was sent to 14-day judicial custody.