Taking on the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala for its “disappointing” handling of the “sensitive issue” of Sabarimala pilgrimage, BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday stated that if reports of the treatment being meted out to the pilgrims are true, “then Pinarayi Vijayan must realize that he can’t treat Ayyappa devotees like inmates of Gulag”.
Denying the charges within hours, Vijayan maintained that the BJP president’s tweets on Sabarimala was “unfounded and misleading”. He also stated, “Arrangements must have caused inconvenience to the Sangh Parivar elements, who are bent on fomenting trouble with ulterior motives.”
In a series of tweets on Tuesday morning, Shah stated, “The way Pinarayi Vijayan’s govt is handling the sensitive issue of Sabarimala is disappointing. Kerala police is treating young girls, mothers and aged inhumanly, forcing them to take the arduous pilgrimage, without even basic facilities like food, water, shelter & clean toilets. If several reports of flushing resting places for devotees and them having to spend nights next to pig droppings & dustbin are true, then Pinarayi Vijayan must realize that he can’t treat Ayyappa devotees like inmates of Gulag. We won’t let LDF crush people’s faith with impunity.”
He posted, “If Pinarayi Vijayan thinks he can rise against people’s movement to preserve Sabarimala by arresting K Surendran, our Thrissur District President and 6 others, then he is mistaken. We stand firmly with every Ayyappa devotee…”
Replying through a Facebook post later in the day, the Kerala CM hit back, “Pilgrimage is going on in a very smooth way. Pilgrims too have expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made at Sabarimala. Arrangements must have caused inconvenience to the Sangh Parivar elements, who are bent on fomenting trouble with ulterior motives.’’
Claiming that Shah must have been “carried away by the campaign unleashed by these elements”, Vijayan posted, “Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has gone on record that the government does not have any option but to execute the order of the apex court. This itself is a reply to the allegation levelled by Shah.”
Kerala BJP and RSS leaders and workers have been opposing the state government’s move to implement the Supreme Court order which lifted the bar on women of menstruating age from visiting the Sabarimala temple.
In Delhi, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) lashed out at Vijayan and accused him of working like Adil Shah and Aurangzeb in its attempt to implement the apex court order on Sabaralimala pilgrims. If needed, VHP International joint general secretary Surendra Jain told the media, a movement like Ayodhya can be launched for Sabarimala as well.
Accusing the Kerala CM of spreading both “red and green terror”, implying Communist and Islamic terror, Jain said, “Aaj Vijayan laal aur
hara dono aatank faila raha hai. Harey aatankwad ka sanrakshak hai aur laal aatankwad toh seedha-seedha kar raha hai. To isliye woh Kashmir ke roop mein badalna chahta hai jisme woh safal nahi hoga (Today Vijayan is spreading both red and green terror. He is a patron of green terror and is carrying out red terror openly. He wants to turn the state into Kashmir but will not succeed).”
8 taken into custody from temple complex
Eight people were taken into preventive custody from the temple complex on Tuesday night based on intelligence report that they were at the hill shrine to create trouble, the police said. A senior police officer told PTI that they were taken into custody after they had offered prayers. Later they were taken to Pamba police station, around 4 km downhill. “Two of the detainees have criminal cases registered against them at local police stations,” the officer said.
with ENS, Delhi