Did the Kerala state government have a ‘hidden agenda’ in facilitating the visit of Bindu and Kanakadurga into the Sabarimala temple? This was one of the questions that the Kerala High Court had asked the government to answer in their affidavit, on a petition around the Sabarimala issue. And on Tuesday, the state government filed their affidavit declaring that they had an ‘open agenda’ – of implementing the judgment of the Supreme Court, allowing entry to women of all ages into the hill temple. The government also said that it was not practical to ascertain the ‘genuineness’ of women devotees, unless there are specific intelligence inputs.
"There was no ‘hidden’ agenda for the State or its instrumentalities including police in the matter of pilgrimage of two women devotees to Sabarimala on 02.01.19,” the government’s affidavit said, “The State and its instrumentalities including police had only an “open agenda" in the said matter of pilgrimage of two women devotees to Sabarimala on 02.01.19 and the said “open agenda” was the implementation of the judgement of the honourable apex court.”
It also said that any allegations about the government having a hidden agenda came from right wing elements “to perpetuate their political ends” and that these allegations were not supported by “any cogent reason or bonafide apprehension”.
The affidavit was submitted after the HC, in the course of hearing a writ petition submitted by GB Dinachandran around the Sabarimala issue, had asked the government to answer two questions: whether there was any hidden agenda in facilitating the visit of two women to Sabarimala on January 2; and whether the two women were genuine devotees.
To the second question, the government said, “It is submitted that the state and its instrumentalities including police have no prior inputs.”
“The genuineness of a male pilgrim is/cannot be ascertained by the Police. In the said circumstances, any attempt to ascertain the genuineness or otherwise of a woman pilgrim coming to Sabarimala, in the absence of contrary prior intelligence output, will amount to violation of their fundamental rights under Article 14, 17 and 25 of the Constitution of India,” the affidavit added.
“It is practically not possible to ascertain the antecedents and genuineness in devotion of all the devotees coming to Sabarimala taking into account the large number of devotees coming to therein unless there are prior intelligence inputs as aforementioned,” the government stated.
Pointing a finger at the BJP without naming the party, the affidavit said that right wing groups and “a prominent political party” that had created all sorts of trouble at Sabarimala, and that it was these groups that made the holy hill of Sabarimala a space for protesting the SC’s verdict.