Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had earlier supported the entry of women into Sabarimala when the issue was up for hearing in 2016.

Unnecessary provocative act Shashi Tharoor slams women who entered Sabarimala
news Sabarimala Friday, January 04, 2019 - 14:22

On Wednesday, a wave of protests broke out in Kerala after two women in their 40s entered the sanctum sanctorum of Sabarimala, becoming the first women below 50 years to do so following the September 28 Supreme Court verdict. Numerous political parties and organisations that are against women's temple entry, including the BJP, registered their protest over this. Among the many detractors is Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who called the entry of the two women an ‘unnecessary provocative act’.

Speaking to the CNN News 18, Tharoor said “I can’t imagine it gave any satisfaction to the women because they didn’t go up the holy 18 steps with the irumudikettu on their heads, which is the way it is supposed to be. So they have not technically conducted a ritual act of worship.”

Later, he added that the Congress party is “very much in favour of women’s equality but are also in favour of respecting the sanctity of religious practices in our country.”

Tharoor also added that if the Supreme Court was not able to handle the objections and concerns in the Sabarimala issue, the party would place all options on the table, including asking the Central Government to take responsibility.

Tharoor’s comment sparked a volley of responses on social media. Responding to him, Kavitha Krishnan, secretary of the All Indian Progressive Women’s Association said “unprovocative women rarely made history”

Incidentally, Shashi Tharoor had earlier come out in support of women entry into Sabarimala when the case was up for hearing in 2016. He even welcomed the Supreme Court verdict on this on September 28.

However, following protests and the Kerala Congress’ anti-verdict stance on the issue, the Congress MP changed his stance as well.

The issue has been wrongly framed as one of gender equality when it is actually about faith, he told the media.

“Initially I thought it was a simple issue of equal access. However, following the Supreme Court verdict, I saw a reaction that went beyond majority populism. There was a different social environment in Kerala with the Sabarimala issue. There is no popular demand, no mass movement of women demanding entry,” he said in an interview.

Adding that certain religious notions escaped rational analysis, Tharoor said that his party supported devotees who felt a sense of violation of the temple’s sanctity with the Supreme Court verdict and wished to pursue this through constitutional means and not through the kind of agitational politics that the right-wing outfits are resorting to.

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