Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday accused the Sangh Parivar – a group of Hindu nationalist organisations associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh –of perpetrating violence at the Sabarimala Temple complex last week, PTI reported. The RSS, he told reporters at a press conference, had turned the “temple into a war zone”.
The temple opened last week for the first time following a landmark Supreme Court verdict last month that allowed women of all ages to visit the shrine. Women of menstruating age have traditionally not been allowed into the temple. Protestors, in defiance of the top court’s order, stopped almost a dozen women who attempted to visit the hilltop shrine. The temple closed on Monday night after five days of monthly rituals.
Several religious outfits have been protesting against the top court’s court’s order. The state government had said it would implement the order, but appeared unable to do so. The state units of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have also opposed the Supreme Court order.
Vijayan said said the protests were a “planned and deliberate attempt” to create an atmosphere of tension in the state. “We witnessed major attacks against women who came to Sabarimala – this involved stone pelting and mental harassment,” he added.
“The Sangh Parivar has been claiming that Ayyappa devotees were against the women,” he told reporters. “If that is true, then how did attacks happen simultaneously on the houses of these women while they were still standing near the temple?”
The chief minister said the attacks on journalists covering the temple opening were unprecedented. BJP state President Sreedharan Pillai attempted to “create unrest” in the police department by calling on “believers among the personnel to act accordingly”, The News Minute quoted Vijayan as saying. He also alleged that the “Sangh Parivar has tried to paint the police in a communal way”.
The Left government said it was committed to making the temple site a peaceful zone and that the government was duty-bound to implement the top court’s order. He said those responsible for the violence would be penalised.