"We Put Forward Agenda & Everyone Surrendered To It," Kerala BJP President On Sabarimala Row
Kerala BJP President PS Sreedharan Pillai has landed himself into a controversy over remarks on the Sabarimala row. The BJP leader was heard in an audio clip saying that the chief of the Thantri community had consulted him before announcing that they would shut the temple doors for the age barred (10 to 50) women devotees if they try to enter the temple. Allegedly, the BJP leader has also said that everyone (in India) had surrendered before the BJP’s agenda.
The barbaric practice still in place
According to The News Minute, Pillai had made these statements at a closed-door meeting of BJP Yuva Morcha in Kozhikode. Reportedly, Pillai said that the chief priest of the Sabarimala temple, Kandararu Rajeevaru was worried about shutting the temple door considering that it might lead to contempt of court. However, Pillai claimed that after his advice, the priest also agreed to do the same. The BJP leader said that he managed to convince the priest that there is nothing to worry and if the priest shuts the temple doors, he along with many people will stand by him.
According to the News18, he can be heard saying, “The Thantri community has more faith in BJP and its state chief. When women were about to enter Sabarimala, he called me up. I had given him a word, and it coincidentally came true. He was a bit upset over shutting the doors of sanctum sanctorum fearing it would invite contempt of court. I was among the few he had contacted that time.”
“I said he is not alone. We’d be the first to be slapped with the charges of contempt of court if it comes. There would be tens of thousands of people to be with him. Upon our word, he took a firm stand,” he further said, as per the clip.
BJP gathered the people to protest
The BJP leader has also said that after the court allowed the entry of women devotees into the temple, it was BJP who had planned the entire protest in October. He said when the two women were trying to enter the temple with the help of IPS Sreejith and other police personals, it was a Yuva Morcha leader who gathered all the protesters to stop the entry of the women. “The outside world doesn’t know all this,” he said. He further said, “Sabarimala is a golden opportunity for BJP.”
After the clip of BJP leader went viral, the leader claimed that he was only providing a legal opinion to the Thantri community and also to the priest as an advocate. However, he refused to comment on the ‘golden opportunity’ remark.
On Monday, the hilltop shrine was opened for five hours for the darshan to the devotees. As per the reports 2,300 police personnel, including a 20-member commando team and 100 women police personnel have been deployed to maintain peace and harmony in the area and to ensure that the devotees get smooth ‘darshan’ of the lord.
After the leak of the conversation, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said that BJP stands exposed now.
The odious politics and perfidious ways of BJP stand exposed. Evidence has surfaced that BJP leaders in the State connived to create trouble in Sabarimala. It must be noted that their State president himself was involved in the ruse. This is highly condemnable.
— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) November 5, 2018
On September 28 in the historic verdict, the Supreme Court allowed the women of 10-50 years of age (menstruation age) to enter Sabarimala. On October 18, Sabarimala temple opened its gates amidst violent protest and attacks on women who tried to enter the temple.
Protesters were lathi-charged by the police and as many as 200 protesters from Hindu fringe outfits, and 13 policemen were injured during the protests.
While two women – journalist Kavitha Jakkal and activist Rehana Fathima tried to enter the temple with police protection a large group of men had stopped them. Later the women were convinced by the police to turn back.
Women journalists attacked by protesters
Many media personnel, including women journalists from national news channels, were attacked by the angry mob. Vehicles were checked by protesters to ensure women were not inside. A vehicle carrying Republic TV channel crew was surrounded by the mob chanting Ayyappa slogans. They damaged the car’s windshield and heckled reporter Pooja Prasanna.
Mausami Singh, an India Today reporter, was pulled out of a bus and harassed and slapped by protesters. She was later escorted by police personnel to a police van.
Women reporters from The News Minute and CNN News18 were also attacked and beaten up. Abusive slogans were used against some of them. The mob attacked Reporter TV’s vehicle and injured reporter Rajeesh, The Hindu reported. Later, journalists also went out on a protest march in Thiruvananthapuram, demanding strict action against the attackers.