New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah on Saturday extended full support to the protest by Ayyappa devotees against the CPI(M)-led LDF government’s decision to implement the Supreme court order on the entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala temple, saying the Left government was trying to “suppress” the agitation by force.
Addressing a gathering at an inauguration ceremony of a new district committee office in Kannur, Shah said, “We [the BJP] will uproot this government if it continues arresting people who protested the Supreme Court verdict [on women’s entry into the Sabarimala],” Shah said. Shah also asked courts to issue “practical instructions to governments”.
Shah, who began his speech with ‘Swamiya Saranam Ayyappa’ mantra, said the LDF government led by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan would have to pay a “heavy price” if the suppression of the agitation continues.
In Sabarimala, nation has seen a fight between dharma,belief & bhakti on the one side & an oppressive Kerala govt on the other. The LDF is using its power to suppress belief of Ayyappa devotees. But Mr Vijayan,I want to remind you that BJP stands firmly with the Ayyappa devotees. pic.twitter.com/zVkyyOeho1
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) October 27, 2018
Shah said the state government was using police force to challenge the protest by devotees and condemned the arrest of over 2,000 devotees, including RSS and Sangh parivar activists, across the state agitating against the entry of women of all ages into the temple.
In a warning to Vijayan, he said the effort by his government to clamp down on the agitation amounted to “playing with fire”.
“Chief minister must stop the brutality in the name of implementing the SC verdict,” he said, adding that even women in the state were against the government move to implement the top court’s order.
Alleging that the Left government was trying to “destroy” Sabarimala temple and the “Hindu traditions,” the BJP chief said the saffron party won’t allow the CPI(M)-led government to “gamble with Hindu faith.”
“There is no restriction for women to offer prayers in any other Ayyappa temple… The uniqueness of the Sabarimala shrine has to be protected,” he said. “The communist government is conspiring against temples. They have created an emergency like situation in Kerala,” he added.
Recalling that the Left government had not implemented several court orders before, Shah said the court order in the matter should be implemented by respecting the sentiments of devotees.
Making it clear that the saffron party was all set to make the Sabarimala issue one of its main agendas in the state, he concluded his speech by asking party workers to call “Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa.”
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan responded to Amit Shah’s remarks by saying that the government of Kerala came to power with the people’s mandate. He also denounced Amit Shah’s statements as, “against the constitution and the law of the land”.
Amit Shah who threatened to topple our government should remember that this government came to power, not at the mercy of BJP, but the people’s mandate. His message is to sabotage the people’s mandate: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan pic.twitter.com/qj1UIGND1c
— ANI (@ANI) October 27, 2018
These statements of Shah also reveal the true nature of RSS and Sangh Parivar. His argument that gender equality must not be implemented through temple entry laws is a precursor to the argument that caste based discrimination must not be abolished with law.
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) October 27, 2018
The temple had witnessed high drama with around a dozen women in 10-50 age group being prevented from entering the temple by protesting devotees after the doors were opened for all women following the apex court verdict. In addition, the home of one of the women who tried to make the journey was vandalised, as was the ashram of a swami who said he supported the Supreme Court order.
(With inputs from PTI)