November 1, 2018 4:29:01 am
EVEN AS the BJP has intensified its protests against the Supreme Court’s order to open the Sabarimala shrine to women of all ages, senior party leader and Union Minister Uma Bharti has said the apex court cannot be blamed.
“The court did not intervene suo motu. When someone approaches the court, it cannot deny the opportunity to take their matter before the court… If someone goes to court, the court will have to pronounce its stand… I will not blame the court here,” Bharti told The Indian Express.
Her statement comes days after BJP president Amit Shah said courts should desist from pronouncing verdicts which cannot be implemented. Addressing party workers in Kannur on Saturday, Shah had said: “I want to tell the government and those who pronounce the orders in court that you should issue orders that can be implemented, not the ones that break the faith of people.”
Bharti said Shah could have been referring to those who had approached the court.
Stating that women do not need to be told when they can enter a temple, she said: “The issue is a matter of personal faith. Women themselves are aware when there are restrictions, they know when to go to a temple and when they should not go… Those who go should have faith. It’s not a picnic spot, it’s a place of worship. When women go there, no one has to tell them when to go. They know it, and they have been keeping these (restrictions) for millions of years. My view is that women will themselves keep the restrictions.”
She blamed the protests in Kerala, where BJP workers have launched a dawn-to-dusk hunger strike, on the “atmosphere” in the state. “People, especially Hindus, are protesting in Kerala because their religious sentiments have been deeply hurt. How calves were brought to the middle of road, slaughtered, cooked and eaten. The atmosphere in Kerala has become such that… (they want) Hindus should be humiliated, all the experiments should be done on them,” said the Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation.
Bharti, who was at the forefront of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and is among those accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case, said all Opposition parties, including the Congress, should initiate a dialogue to resolve the dispute.
“The government can intervene only if there is a consensus. If everyone gets together, as in the case of Somnath temple, it can happen. Those in the government want the temple… when the Somnath temple issue came up, everyone stood together. So, let all the parties come together. If the Congress, Left and Socialist parties come together, there will be a temple,” she said.
Unlike some of her party colleagues, she did not call for a legislation to allow the construction of a Ram temple. “It is an issue of dispute of land. It’s not a dispute of faith, because you can’t compare the structure with the birthplace of Ram… I will invite Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, because they say we are using it for the purpose of elections. It will be better if they come forth and start talking about a solution,” she said.
“Let them have a dialogue. Because Ram Lalla should get a temple at his birthplace, it belongs to us. It’s not challenged, the challenge is only about the land. If we start the dialogue process, others like Rahul Gandhi will spread venom and get people killed. So let them do it. If both parties go to court and say they would like to resolve it, the court will accept it,” she said.
Denying the Opposition’s charge that the BJP raises the Ram temple issue during elections, she said: “It just happened that the elections are near now. The Supreme Court is an independent body. It’s just a coincidence that the case has come up just before elections. For us, the Ram Janmabhoomi movement is not an issue to win or lose elections. For us, this is an issue that is linked to national pride.”
The minister said she wanted to quit the government so that she could get more involved in the campaign to clean Ganga. “But I have not been freed yet,” she said. She said it has been difficult to convince officials, despite their “faith in Ganga”, about the problem and their responsibility to resolve it.
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