Sabarimala Devotees have demonstrated unprecedented courage and conviction in resisting the authoritarian ways of CPM-led Kerala Government. As of now, they have succeeded in safeguarding their faith, what lies ahead is to be seen
The whole hullabaloo in Sabarimala started from the September 28 verdict of the five-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court led by former Chief Justice Dipak Mishra. While four judges – CJI, Jce RF Nariman, AM Khanvilakar and Jce. DY Chandrahcud – favoured the temple entry for women of all ages, the only dissenting order was of Jce Indu Malhotra, the only woman member in the Bench.
Sri Lankan Devotees Now Up In Arms Against Sabarimala Verdict As Followers Endure Lathicharge By Kerala Police
The verdict was the result of a PIL filed in 2006 by five persons. Three of them – Adv Premakumari, Adv Sudha Pal and Adv Lakshmi Shastri – had told Organiser weekly before the verdict that they were with women who had declared that they are ready to wait until they turn 50. They added they respect the sentiments of the Kerala women. They did not know about the tantric system in the temple, but were only concerned with the ‘gender bias’. Some of them even expressed their desire to withdraw from the case but did not get the court permission for it.
On October 8, RSS and the Sangh inspired organisations decided to join the novel agitation for the protection of the age-old traditions of Sabarimala temple which no believer woman wanted to change. The only women who supported the changes were left-inspired ones, Maoists and terror-linked individuals or anarchist groups. They were known for their social media posts against Vande Mataram, Janaganamana, Hindu icons, the Prime Minister, RSS and all nationalistic men, matters and affairs. Most of them were organisers of Kiss of Love movement, Burn Your taali movement (taali is the wedlock in the gold chain the married woman wear). They always supported Pakistani causes, supported terrorism in J & K, supported Maoists and organisers of the beef festival, etc.
V Padmapriya, nine years old, from Chennai declared, after the darshan at Shabarimala temple along with her father and grandfather, that she would come back after 49 years
The entry of Sangh Parivar organisations gave a fillip to the movement. BJP state president led Long March aka Sabarimala Samrakshana Yatra from Pandalam Ayyappa temple to Thiruvananthapuram. Thousands of party workers and believers marched with him. All NDA constituents participated in March. The participants chanted Swamiye Sharanamayyappa (prayer of the Sabarimala pilgrims) throughout the March and no political slogans. National leaders of BJP graced the March at several points. When the March culminated before the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on October 15 after the five days’ traverse, Sreedharan Pillai said, his party and the believers would resort to strong agitations if the Government does not take actions for the review petition within 24 hours.
Believers Start Demonstrating Against CPM
On October 10, the believers blocked the highways at 200 points throughout the state as a token of protests. A good number of the participants were women. They braved the scorching sun for several hours together. District collector declared Cr PC 144 in the area.
BJP Kerala President Adv PS Sreedharan Pillai’s Long March in solidarity with Sabarimala devotees
When the mass movement for the protection of the traditions gained utmost popularity and public support, CPM tried to garner support to counter it, but it all fell flat. In Pathanamthitta, the women summoned to the CPM meeting disguised as the meeting concerning National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, walked out stating that they were cheated; they added, they were for the traditions in Sabarimala. CPM leader PK Sreeathi MP made an obscene remark about the temple going women, and she invited the wrath of the people including her party men.
Meanwhile, the Government had to admit before the Kerala High Court their mistake of amending the rule for facilitating the appointment of non-Hindus as the Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner of the Dewaswom Boards designated to rule the Hindu temples.
During those days, Pinarayi went to UAE for “fundraising for the rebuilding of post-flood Kerala”. He declared before leaving that women who wanted to visit the temple would get all support from the Government. He conveniently forgot that there was no gender bias in Sabarimala, but only a restriction linked with the age which all believer women have been observing without any murmur.
The meeting of all stakeholders, convened by TDB president A. Padmakumar failed to reach any solution.
When the temple was reopened on October 18 (the first day of the Thulaam, the Malayalam calendar month), the believers were quite sure that CPM would try all tricks in their book to smuggle in women, belonging to the groups mentioned in earlier paragraphs. Therefore, women believers congregated in all important points en route to Sabarimala to protest peacefully against such “smuggles”. Pampa, Nilakkal and Erumeli were their rendezvous places.
Day by day, resistance movement assumed more strength. Naturally, CPM stepped up provocation. Police attacked Yuva Morcha workers at the above points. They even destroyed the bhajan pandal where women were carrying out namajapayajna. BJYM president Adv. Prakashbabu and several women including old ladies were injured. The picture of Ayyappa Swamy which was being worshipped by the yajna people and the traditional lamp were kicked. Janam TV channel telecast the visuals of police officers smashing the car windows and felling the parked two-wheelers. Some of them even stole the helmets hanged on them. Then Sangh-inspired organisations called for a Statewide hartal, and it was welcomed by the people throughout the state. Adv. Sreedharan Pillai and hundreds of BJP workers observed a hunger strike at Pathanamthitta. General secretaries observed dharna in Pampa.
On October 19, CM Pinarayi instructed (from Sharjah) IG of Police Manoj Abraham, infamous for his Christian partiality and pro CPM attitude, to take charge of Sabarimala and facilitate the young women’s temple entry. On October 18, New York Times journalist Suhasini Raj tried to reach the shrine. But, the devotees stopped her and her American boyfriend; they had to go back.