‘Sangh Parivar turned temple into a battleground’: Kerala CM on Sabarimala violence

Pinarayi Vijayan alleged that information about women who tried to enter Sabarimala was collected by Sangh elements, and they were deliberately targeted.
‘Sangh Parivar turned temple into a battleground’: Kerala CM on Sabarimala violence
‘Sangh Parivar turned temple into a battleground’: Kerala CM on Sabarimala violence
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A day after Sabarimala’s doors shut for the month on Monday without a single woman between the ages of 10 and 50 being able to enter the temple, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan addressed the media and lashed out at the ‘Sangh Parivar’ for the violent protests that broke out at Nilakkal and Pamba, stating that members of the Sangh Parivar were against women’s entry and were present there only to ‘turn Sabarimala into a battle zone."

“We witnessed major attacks against women who came to Sabarimala – this involved stone pelting and mental harassment. Sangh Parivar elements abused these women at Sabarimala and attacked their houses elsewhere, all at the same time. The Sangh Parivar has been claiming that Ayyappa devotees were against the women. That is not true. If that is true then how did attacks happen simultaneously on the houses of these women while they were still standing near the temple? There is a conspiracy behind this,” CM Pinarayi told the media. 

He went on to state that the details of the women who wished to enter Sabarimala were noted before the women began their journeys uphill, and that plans were hatched to attack the women’s homes much before.

“The movements of these women were being tracked by Sangh elements in various districts. We have intercepted audio messages where Sangh Parivar groups have told their people to dress up in black, carry the irumudikettu and come posing as Ayyappas to Sabarimala. The RSS has given leadership to this protest. Their intention was to transform a religious place into a battleground,” the Kerala CM added.

The five days that the Sabarimala temple doors were open saw many protesters gather along the route up to the temple shouting and abusing any woman below the age of 50 who tried to enter Sabarimala. Despite police protection, women were not able to go past the protesters; at other times, police denied protection to women who wished to go to the temple. This, despite the Supreme Court’s verdict on September 28 lifting the ban on the entry of women from ages 10 to 50 into the Sabarimala temple.

“The government wishes to tell these people that they should not dream of making Sabarimala the ground of violence. The government will make sure that criminal elements are removed from Sabarimala. The Sangh Parivar has tried to paint the police in a communal way. BJP State President announced that the believers in the police department should act accordingly. It is evident that he is trying to create unrest in the top ranks of the police and they want to create,” CM Pinarayi stated.

When asked how the government will manage security when the temple reopens, the CM expressed confidence that the police can manage the issue. The Kerala government has come under criticism for not taking enough action on the protesters in the first two days of the temple opening, but Pinarayi believed the police had not failed.

“The government is bound to implement what the Supreme Court said. This is not peculiar to this government alone, every government has the duty to follow the Supreme Court,” CM Pinarayi said. “Sabarimala is a religious place, what one needs there is peace. To turn Sabarimala into a battle zone is not the government's doing. Even before the Sabarimala temple opened this month, the Sangh Parivar made all efforts to make Sabarimala into a battleground,” CM Pinarayi said.

Kerala CM claimed that through the violent protests, people have “seen the faces of the Sangh mob” through visuals of the attack.

“Many devotees were attacked...the attacks were not only on young women, but media professionals too were attacked in a big way. We witnessed something that we had never seen before in Kerala, an attack against the media for not reporting the way they wanted. They (Sangh) openly said that those media houses who did not stick to the line will be attacked,” the Kerala CM stated.

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