A day after thousands of men and women under the aegis of different Hindu organisations displayed their strength by protesting on streets in Kerala against the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala, senior Congress leader K Sudhakaran cautioned the LDF government against testing the beliefs of devotees.
“These protests that we saw on the streets were spontaneous. Their reaction is natural. The protests were borne out of the disappointment and heartbreak of people of the Hindu community over the dismantling of their beliefs. We are not asking for any kind of violence, but the CPM-led government must take note of this. They must file a review petition against the verdict in the Supreme Court,” Sudhakaran, the newly-appointed working president of the Congress state unit, told reporters at a press briefing in Kannur.
“No woman who actually believes in Lord Ayyappa will go to Sabarimala. Only the adventurous types who want to take a trek will go there,” he added.
Sudhakaran joined the league of Congress leaders like Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and BJP state chief PS Sreedharan Pillai to oppose the top court ruling. While the LDF government and CM Pinarayi Vijayan stressed that the government will take all measures to implement the Sabarimala verdict, the Opposition parties have struck a contrasting stand. The Congress and the BJP have underlined that temple customs and rituals are there for a reason and that they must be followed.
While Congress communications-in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala hailed the top court’s verdict on Sabarimala in Delhi, Sudhakaran said the party gives everyone the freedom to express their opinion. He begged to differ from the view of the Congress high command.
“The deity in Sabarimala is considered an eternal celibate (naishtika brahmachari). There are certain vows to be taken before going to the temple. Swamis have to take 41 day-vows during which they cannot eat meat. These beliefs existed before the Constitution came into effect. Sabarimala existed before the Constitution came into effect. The belief is that the physical changes in a woman will affect the purity at the temple. That’s why there were restrictions,” Sudhakaran said.
The Congress leader remarked that the Kerala government must attempt to solve the ideological crisis over Sabarimala similar to the manner in which the Tamil Nadu government handled the issue of Jallikattu. “The verdict in Jallikattu was similar. Look at how they (TN) handled it. After the peaceful protests escalated into violence, the TN government changed rules and went back to court,” he said.