The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) made it clear that it has nothing to do with the call for a dawn-to-dusk hartal on Monday in Kerala over the issue of entry of women in the childbearing age into the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple.
The call for a hartal across the state was reportedly made by little-known fringe outfits such as the Ayyappa Sena and the Hanuman Sena. The RSS said it was forced to issue a statement disassociating itself from the hartal as these outfits were linked to the Sangh Parivar. The Hindu Aikya Vedi has also distanced itself from the bandh call.
The Sangh said the issue of the entry of women of a specific age group at Sabarimala is being heard in the Supreme Court by a five-judge bench and therefore did not warrant being raised on the streets.
Daily life has not been affected by the hartal call on Monday as private buses, state transport buses and autorickshaws are plying the streets. Shops, private establishments, educational institutions, banks and government offices are operating as usual.
Several Hindu outfits have protested against the state government’s position in the top court to allow women of all age groups into the centuries-old temple. The temple management and certain Hindu outfits have been of the view that since the deity at the temple is believed to be a ‘naishtika brahmachari’ (eternal celibate), the customs and traditions do not allow the entry of women of reproductive age. The Supreme Court is examining whether such traditions violate the constitutional rights of women of access to public places of worship.