EVEN as the Kerala unit of the Shiv Sena on Saturday threatened to commit suicide if women enter the Sabarimala temple, activist Trupti Desai, the head of Bhumata Brigade, asked the party in Maharashtra to explain its stand on the issue.
“Does the Shiv Sena support entry of women into Sabarimala temple? Is it in favour of women or against the Constitution which grants equal right to pray… Does it favour orthodox beliefs and wrong religious practices? The Sena needs to clarify its stand,” Desai said while speaking to this newspaper hours after the Kerala unit of the Sena issued the warning. Slamming the Sena for “double standards” Desai said: “In the Shani Shingnapur case, the Shiv Sena had welcomed the entry of women into the temple where women were barred for centuries. In the Haji Ali case, too, the Shiv Sena had welcomed the entry of women. Now why is the Kerala unit of the party threatening mass suicides? And this after the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court, permitted women to enter the temple and exercise their right to pray.”
Appealing to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to make his stand clear, Desai said: “We expect Uddhav Thackeray, as the party head, to step in and direct its unit not to violate the constitutional rights of women. We expect the Sena chief will issue appropriate directions to its Kerala unit to not resort to such threatening tactics.” When contacted, a Sena spokesperson refused to respond to Desai’s contentions. “We will not say anything on this…,” the spokesperson said.
Desai said they are thinking about when to visit the Sabarimala temple. While her group, the Bhumata Brigade was planning to postpone the visit till next month, Desai said she hasn’t decided yet. “We are still contemplating whether to visit this month or the next month. This month, the temple will apparently remain open for five days from October 16. But there is hardly any time to make preparations,” Desai said. “Come what may, I will be visit Sabarimala sooner than later.”
She said she will reveal her plans at the appropriate time. Her associates, however, said Desai wants to keep her plans under wraps due to the protests from different quarters in Kerala. Asked whether she will be seeking security from Kerala government, Desai said whether she seeks it or not, the Kerala government is duty-bound to give security. “We are seeking honourable entry into the temple,” she said. Desai said she will adopt Gandhigiri to assert her right to pray at Sabarimala. “We will employ Gandhian ways to gain entry…”