Around 200 women gathered at Thiruvananthapuram’s University College voicing their support to the women devotees who wished to enter Sabarimala temple.

Kerala marches forward not backwards SFI extends support to Sabarimala verdict
news Sabarimala Thursday, November 22, 2018 - 17:24

“Are you scared of menstruation?” read a placard at University College in Thiruvananthapuram. “Is Menstruation a hindrance to worship?” read another. Carrying these placards at the university gate on Thursday were close to 200 women voicing their support to the women between the ages of 10 and 50 who wished to enter Sabarimala.

The gathering was organised as part of a campaign by the Students Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of the CPI(M), called “Keralam Pinottalla, Munnottu,” (Kerala marches forward, not backwards). The message of the gathering was clear – to send a strong message that there are women who support the SC verdict and are ready to exercise their constitutional rights.

Last month, the state of Kerala witnessed hundreds of women marching against the September 28 verdict of the Supreme Court which allowed the entry of women of all ages into the famous Sabarimala Temple in Kerala. “We don’t want to go to Sabarimala,” was what the protesting women across the state said.

"Are you scared of menstruation?" reads the placard

Students present at the gathering told TNM that they had assembled also to protest the attempts made by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to use the Sabarimala issue for their political gains and to turn Kerala into a conflict zone.

Speaking at the event, Ashitha, a central committee member of the SFI accused the RSS and the Congress, who have voiced their support to those protesting against the Supreme Court’s verdict, of “trying their level best to put an end to it and pull us back to the stone ages.”

“Kerala has always been known for its progressive values and it is a state which follows the constitutional right to equality for both men and women. Both the RSS and the Congress are trying to destroy these values of Kerala in the name of rituals, beliefs and superstitions,” she said.

Parvathy, a state committee member of SFI, claimed that the reason the Sangh Parivar is targeting Kerala is for its progressive nature.

“Only if they destroy this progress, can they spread the agenda of their leaders in this society. Our defence is against this attack by the Sangh Parivar,” said Parvathy. “When their attacks increase, our defence should also become stronger. That is the main reason for this gathering,” she added.

In addition to SFI members, some students of the University too joined the gathering.

“This is a much-needed gathering mostly because we are going through a time when the secular nature of our state is being questioned and the constitutional rights are being threatened,” said Anusree, a final year postgraduate student at the University college, speaking to TNM.

CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP, TN Seema inaugurated the campaign at the University College. Addressing the gathering, TN Seema said that the Sabarimala issue is an acid test as far as the Kerala society is concerned.

“Through this test, we were able to understand that there is a large number of people trying to create communal discord in this state. The politics of these people is known to everyone... Sabarimala has become a platform for these elements to show how they can use the devotees as a human shield and the rituals as a weapon to create communal tensions in the state,” she said.

The SFI plans on carrying this campaign throughout the fourteen districts of the state through their various district committees.

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