Rahul Easwar appears to have changed his stance on stopping the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 to the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple.
“We, the devotees, would stand here very peacefully and pray, following Gandhian ways. We hope that the Devaswom Board and the ministers will hear our prayer,” he tells the media as the temple gets ready to open for the season on Wednesday.
This is in stark contrast with what he had declared a few days. Two days after the Supreme Court verdict, Rahul had said that women (between the ages of 10 and 50) would enter Sabarimala only by stamping on the chests of devotees and protests would be organised against their entry across the state. He had asked male devotees to be ready to lie down in protest.
Rahul’s change of mind comes at a time a case has been ordered against him by the Alappuzha Judicial First Class Magistrate. Social worker Subash M Theekadan had given a petition at the court accusing Rahul Easwar of calling for violence, during television debates. Magistrate R Rajitha who received the petition ordered the Alappuzha South police to investigate.
Rahul who is at Pamba currently told the media that various devotee forums would only chant prayers and will not protest.
Former Devaswom Board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan too seems to have softened his choice of words against young women planning to enter the temple following the SC verdict that allowed women of all ages to do so. “I am not here to stop any young women from entering the temple. I came here to pray,” he says.
However, he adds that it is the responsibility of the police to stop young women from entering the temple. “If they don’t, today or tomorrow, there would be a government of believers. It could be Congress, it could be others. I am a representative of the Congress. There are rumours that I would join the RSS. I wouldn’t.”
Prayar also says that prayers should be held in temples across Kerala for Lord Ayyappa to give mental and physical strength to the Chief Minister to solve this problem. Tension has prevailed in Nilakkal, a place before Pamba, as protestors forcefully evicted women travelling in cars and buses to Sabarimala. Police dismantled a tent put up by protesters and arrested a few of them.