Malabar Dewaswom Board had earlier banned RSS activities on temple premises in its jurisdiction, that is, temples in north Malabar. Travancore Devaswom Board had asked its Vigilance Department to carry out surprise raids to see if the rules were violated in the temples under its jurisdiction. It is in the wake of the “violations” reported from some places. Some protests have taken place recently against certain actions of the Board.
Incidentally, some were organised by the temple advisory committees themselves. The circular asks the board staff to take legal action against the protesters when they venture into protests. They have to keep an eye on the activities of RSS and community organisations in the temple premises. They should not be permitted to display their respective flags and decorations in the temple. Temple advisory committees formed under the court-approved bylaws alone will be permitted to get involved in temple activities. It also asks the priests to keep their superiors informed about the “banned activities” and even their meetings taking place in the temples.
The latest order was issued on Friday, October 20, 2023. It bans nama japa protests in the temple premises. The higher authorities will have to face strict actions if they do not take actions against the accused despite getting informed. Board staff can seek the help of police and district administration for “legal remedies”. Order also prevents political and community bodies from erecting the flags, festoons and hoardings in the temple premises which have nothing to do with the temples.
Sangh-inspired Kerala Kshethra Samrakshana Samiti (KKS Samiti – Kerala Temple Protection Council) has alleged that the Board circular is anti-temple. It is against the temple rituals and is killing of the devotees’ protests. KKS Samiti state president M. Mohanan and general secretary K.S. Narayanan alleged that Circular is meant to block the protests against the communists’ sinister designs to demolish the concept of the temples. They said, it is the Hindu organisations and devotees’ conclaves which do protest in the temples. Boards endeavour is to “capture” the temples.
Their activities are not transparent. No Circular can prevent the protests against the ant-Hindu activities and the luxurious styles of the government and the Board by looting the assets of the ‘God’. The collectives of the temple protection groups will remain in the temple premises. Hindu society should be handed over the temples, just like other religious groups enjoy the control of their worship centres.
Namajapayatra has been an effective non-violent struggle of Hindus whenever they have to protest for the protection of their temples and faith. It was proved during the 2018 Sabarimala agitations when the CPM-led state government took initiatives to take ‘undesirable’ women to the shrine where women between the age of 10 and 50 are not allowed.
Kummanam Rajasekahran, senior BJP leader and former Mizoram Governor, said that RSS does not avail temple premises for running the sakhas. Namajapa is carried out by the devotees due to several reasons: To protest against something, to dilute the grief of sense of loss, etc. He referred to the Circular which bans single colour flag. He wondered if the government determined to ban flag hoisting in the temples or to ban saffron-clad sanyasins from entering the temple.
Union Minister V. Muraleedhan came down heavily on the Board. He said, the order does not carry the value of even the paper they used to write it.