The violent resistance against the judgment of the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court is aimed at destabilising Kerala’s Left Democratic Front (LDF) government. It challenges the Constitution, goes against the requirements of gender justice and subverts democratic values.
The verdict was initially welcomed by parties across the entire political spectrum. This included not only the CPM but also the Congress and even the RSS and BJP. The RSS General Secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi and its state leadership said the verdict was perfectly in line with its well-thought out position of supporting gender equality in temple entry. The editorial of the Malayalam mouth piece of the RSS, Janmabhumi, welcomed the verdict and the paper published a series of articles not only supporting the entry of women in Sabarimala but also ridiculing those who opposed it. The AICC described the verdict as historic verdict.
The Kerala CM, Pinarayi Vijayan, made it clear that the government will fulfill its constitutional obligation of implementing the SC order. It was at this point that the RSS-BJP backtracked from their initial position. They joined hands with reactionary and upper caste elements. The Congress in Kerala defied the AICC position and followed the RSS-BJP line. Together, they took to the streets and demanded that the state government should not implement the SC order. Sabarimala was turned into a battlefield. Hooligans came disguised as devotees and attacked women, including journalists, intimidated the media and engaged in large-scale stone pelting.
The duplicity of the RSS-BJP and Congress is also exposed by the fact that in the 12 years when the case was heard, they never bothered to place their views before the court. In a bid to polarise society, the Sangh’s lie factories cooked up a story that the original petitioner was a Muslim. It has now been revealed that one of the litigants, Prerana Kumari, is an activist of the Rashtra Sevika Samiti, the women’s wing of the RSS. Some other litigants have RSS links as well.
The Parivar blames the state government for the Supreme Court verdict. But an affidavit of the government — which is in the public domain — states that though the state government is not opposed to the entry of women, it doesn’t want a controversy. It also demanded the appointment of a commission comprising of experts in Hindu religious matters and eminent social reformers. So the LDF government, instead of bulldozing any view, actually took a transparent and mature position. The government also assured the court that whatever its verdict, it will implement it. Filing a review petition will be a violation of this assurance.
In a situation similar to that in Sabarimala, the BJP government in Maharashtra has implemented an order of the Mumbai High Court, which removed the ban on the entry of women in Shani Shingnapur temple and Haji Ali Dargah. In Shingnapur, the Fadnavis government has not even explored the option of appealing to the Supreme Court against the order of the high court. If the BJP government in Maharashtra is not blamed for disregarding beliefs by implementing a high court order how can Kerala’s government be blamed for implementing an order of the Supreme Court? Here lies the dirty politics of the Sangh Parivar which is playing with the religious sentiments of people.
The Sangh Parivar and Congress even raised a demand of promulgating an ordinance to circumvent the Supreme Court order. The order held that the ban on women’s entry in Sabarimala violates Article 25(1) of the Constitution. How can any government, whether at the Centre or in a state, promulgate an ordinance that would violate a constitutional right? Will such an ordinance survive judicial scrutiny? Are they ignorant about earlier judgments in the Kesavananda Bharati and Golaknath cases in which the SC has ruled that the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be altered?
The RSS-Congress combine’s efforts to portray communists as anti-believers won’t succeed. Guruvayoor and Paliyam satyagrahas and numerous other historic struggles waged by communist leaders like P Krishna Pillai and A K Gopalan resulted in millions of backward caste, SC and ST devotees winning the right of temple entry. The current LDF government led this struggle to its logical conclusion by appointing non-Brahmins and Dalits as priests in temples. The Manuvadi forces led by the Sangh Parivar have been deeply angered by this historic decision. In the pretext of Sabarimala, they are trying to settle the scores with the state government.