The circumstances for men to stick to their oath of celibacy during the Sabarimala pilgrimage should be created by the women, said KP Anilkumar, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) general secretary, during a talk show on Mathrubhumi TV. It was a discussion on the recent verdict by the Supreme Court allowing women of all ages to enter Sabarimala Temple, where women in the menstruating age of 10 to 50 were earlier banned for years.
At the discussion, Anilkumar makes an implicit statement: "Let women come (to Sabarimala temple), no problem. But you should understand something. What happens in an hour-long crowded bus journey is something you all know. So think about the problems that women could face in the 15-16 hours that they may need to go through considering the massive crowd at Sabarimala temple."
The anchor then repeats her question - It is not just about the bodily fasting taken before the pilgrimage, but shouldnât the oath of celibacy be taken mentally as well? To this, Anil Kumar repeats a âwomen-are-responsibleâ narrative.
"Women are responsible for keeping a man's celibacy,â Anilkumar says, adding, âIsn't what you call a family made of man and woman?â
The Congress stand on the issue had at first not been clear when the newly-appointed KPCC president Mullapally Ramachandran would not give a direct 'Yes or No' answer to questions about supporting or opposing the verdict. Then, a day later, the party launched a protest asking for a review petition to be filed against the verdict, the same stand taken by the BJP. Ramesh Chennithala, Opposition Leader, said that the state government was 'cheating Hindus'.
Congress working president K Sudhakaran said that if the state government did not take a matured decision, there would be âjallikattu-likeâ protests in Kerala. When deploying women police for protection on the 18 sacred steps leading to the temple, the Chief Minister should also think if the believers would allow it, Sudhakaran said.