By P. Sreekumaran
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Sangh parivar’s sinister agenda to whip up communal passions on the Sabarimala issue and extract political mileage thereof has been exposed.
Also laid bare is the double game the parivar has been playing right from the beginning. As a parivar detractor put it, it is duplicity of the deepest dye.
There are tell-tale signs of the Sangh’s method to madness. Caught in the act, the various Hindu outfits agitating at the behest of the parivar are blaming the violence vitiating Sabarimala on ‘Ayyappa bhakts’ and CPI(M)-sponsored goondas!
The fact that the mediapersons, especially women who were threatened, intimidated and abused in the most profane language belonged to TV channels and news agencies favouring the entry of women of all ages to the Sabarimala demolishes the Sanghis’ argument. Why would the CPI(M) or the LDF Government intimidate women reporters of these channels, especially when they are in agreement with the Government’s stand on the issue?
The undeniable reality lis that it is not genuine Apyyappa devotes who are indulging in violence. Violence is the handiwork of members of various Hindu outfits in the garb of devotees. An audio clip released by the Devaswom Minister shows an appeal by a Sangh parivar leader exhorting parivar activists to rush to Sabarimala in the guise of Ayyappa devotees!
That the Sangh parivar is running with the hare and hunting with the hound is clear from the latest developments. For instance, the Ministry of Home Affairs has written to the Kerala Chief Secretary asking him to take frim steps to ensure law and order in view of reports that right-wing organisations are likely to foment trouble. The order shows that the Central government is supportive of the Kerala Government’s stand that the Supreme Court order has to be implemented. But this is at sharp variance with the stance taken by the Kerala unit of the BJP and the RSS-affiliated Hindu outfits. True, the Modi Government has every right to ask the State Government to maintain law and order. But it must also direct the BJP and the RSS-affiliated bodies to refrain from violence marring the peace at Sabarimala. That the Central government has not deemed it fit to issue any such appeal is self-explanatory.
The double standards of the BJP is clear also from its reluctance to file a review petition on its own. If the party feels so strongly on the issue, it can go ahead with filing a review petition the way the Nair Service Society(NSS) has done, for instance.
Nor has the BJP cared to persuade the Modi government to intervene in the matter and solve the problem through the ordinance route. Instead, the party is misleading the devotees by repeating ad nauseum that the Kerala Government should come out with an ordinance, conveniently forgetting that the Pinarayi government is simply not in a position to do so!
A word about the Kerala Government’s blow-hot-blow-cold attitude is in order. The Vijayan Government has rightly taken the consistent stand that the SC order must be implemented at any cost. But when it comes to implementation, the government has shown itself to be indecisive. The Police have been told to ensure protection to anyone visiting the hill shrine. But when two ‘activists’ wanted to visit the temple, the police first took them within shaking distance of the shrine. But theey were stopped and persuaded to return in the face of strong opposition to the move. What added to the confusion was the Devaswom Minister’s directive to the police to direct the activists to return. Activists have no business to be there in Sabarimala, thundered the Minister, only to be corrected by CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan that the party has not barred activists from visiting the temple! The prevailing confusion within the party shows that the Government needs to be more proactive in exhibiting the will power and resolve to implement the apex court order. A flip-flop approach simply won’t do.
Meanwhile, the tantri(chief priest) has added to the confusion by threatening to close down the temple if women activists in the 10-50 age group manage to reach the temple precincts. In fact, the ‘parikarmis’(those who help the chief priest) resorted to a protest against the police action in escorting the activists to the temple. The question is: does the tantri have the power to shut the temple down unilaterally without the permission of the Devaswom Board? Also, there is an opinion that the tantri’s action amounts to contempt of court. In fact, there is a growing demand that the Devaswom Board must ask the tantri and the ‘parikarmis’ to explain their stance. Will the Board summon the courage to do so?
In another U-turn, the Devaswom Board at its meeting on October 19 decided not to file a review petition. Instead, the Board would now approach the SC with a status report on Sabarimala. How it should proceed in the matter will be decided by eminent lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi. (IPA Service)