The Kerala Chief Minister was addressing media on the day of the state-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi.

If Thantri cant implement SC order on Sabarimala he should have resigned Kerala CMPTI/File photo
news Sabarimala Thursday, January 03, 2019 - 13:13

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan addressed the media on the day of the state-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the Sabarimala Karma Samithi after the entry of two women into the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday.

“The decision to allow the entry of women into Sabarimala was pronounced by the Supreme Court. Based on that, arranging security for women was the responsibility of the government – it was a constitutional responsibility which the government fulfilled. But while the government took a stand, the Sangh Parivar has been consistently trying to make Sabarimala a spot of conflict. The government is trying to free Sabarimala from these kinds of conflicts,” the CM said.

Speaking about Bindu and Kanakadurga, the two women who entered the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday, the CM said, “We should note that they didn’t land in Sabarimala in a helicopter, but took the normal route that pilgrims do. They didn’t get any special consideration at the temple and had their darshan as other devotees do."

Furthermore, he stressed that there was no protest from devotees.

“Other devotees provided them facilities, as the women have themselves said. The information about their darshan was made public after some time. But even hours after the information was released, there was no protest at all. It implies that there was no natural protest against them even from devotees,” he said.

He said that later chaos was being created for political gain, and that the Sangh Parivar began creating tension.

“Hence, what happened in the state was planned chaos. The cabinet also assessed the same (on Wednesday). The government can do nothing but strongly resist it. It won’t allow any kind of violence. It’s the fifth hartal the BJP is holding in the name of Sabarimala. The Sangh Parivar called for seven hartals in five months in related issues,” he added.

Lawyer Bindu and government employee Kanakadurga entered the Sabarimala temple in the early hours of Wednesday and offered their prayers – and were the first women to do so after the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women between the ages of 10 and 50 to enter the shrine. Following the entry of the two women, the temple was shut and ‘purification’ rituals were held.

Speaking about the Thantri’s decision to close the temple, the CM said, “The women went to the Sabarimala temple based on the SC verdict. We then witnessed something strange… the Thantri closing the temple. The court pronounced the judgement after hearing the Thantri’s version also. He was a party in the case. If he personally had difficulty in following the court judgement, he should have quit the post. It’s up to the Devaswom Board to decide on the temple’s affairs, so the Thantri’s act is a breach of the court's judgement. The government is not stubborn that women should enter the temple, but was doing its best to arrange security for the women. It’s not a challenge against faith. We were acting as per the constitution.”

Reacting to claims that the government allowed the women to enter in the dark of the night, he said that it was their stand that women will be given police protection if they tried to enter. “The two women had come to visit the temple in the wee hours, hence they were allowed to enter at that time rather than asking them to wait. I didn’t know who these women were, only after the news came I realised that these were the women who climbed,” he said. He refuted allegations that it was a secret operation. “The government has no secret operations, everything is public,” he said.

He further said that the government would give protection to any more women who come desiring darshan. “The government will not step back an inch from providing security to women who may come to offer prayers. I am not a Chief Minister who is leading a movement to destroy faith. The government’s stand is to protect devotees,” he said.

Violence prevailed in the state on Thursday, as stones were pelted and tyres burnt as different groups clashed during the hartal. On Wednesday, Sabarimala Karma Samithi protester Chandran Unnithan passed away at a private hospital, reportedly from injuries he suffered during stone-pelting between opposing groups at Pandalam. The CM, however, stated that Chandran died of a cardiac arrest.

“Chandran Unnithan, who passed away on Wednesday, died of cardiac arrest and not from the stone-pelting injuries,” the CM said.

“How many kinds of atrocities the state has been witnessing since yesterday… journalists, police, all were attacked. It’s women who were mostly attacked. They pelted stones at 72 KSRTC buses and 32 policemen were injured. The prasad counter of the Kottarakkara Ganapathy Temple was damaged. In Mavelikkara, a shop run by a woman named Susheela was vandalised as she had taken part in the Women’s Wall. A march was taken out to the house of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam leader Vellappally Natesan, as he was one of the leaders of the Women’s Wall. They are particularly targeting police personnel,” Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Condemning the attack on media persons in the protests that took place on Wednesday, the CM said, “The government views the attack on media persons seriously. It won’t be allowed at any cost.”

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