Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan hit back at BJP president Amit Shah after the latter said the saffron party and the RSS were standing "like a rock" behind those 2,800 devotees arrested during a crackdown on protesters who prevented women from entering the Sabarimala temple. Vijayan said Shah’s comments revealed the party's agenda on the Sabarimala standoff.
Addressing party workers after inaugurating the district BJP office in Kannur, Shah said the state government was using police force to challenge the protest by devotees. He condemned the arrest of more than 2,000 devotees, including RSS and Sangh Parivar activists, across the state agitating against the entry of women of all ages into the temple.
Shah, who began his speech with 'Swamiya Saranam Ayyappa' mantra, said the LDF government led by Vijayan would have to pay a "heavy price" if the suppression of the agitation continues.
"Shah's message is to sabotage the people’s mandate. All democratic-minded people should raise their voice against this," Vijayan said while reacting to the BJP chief's remark.
Vijayan also claimed that Shah's speech was more against the Supreme Court and the Constitution rather than against the state government. "His stand (Amit Shah's statements) on Sabarimala issue in Kannur are against the Constitution and the law of the land. It's a clear intention of their agenda not to guarantee the fundamental rights. This shows the agenda of the RSS & BJP," Vijayan added.
Alleging that the Left government was trying to "destroy" Sabarimala temple and the "Hindu traditions," Shah said the saffron party won't allow the CPI(M)-led government to "gamble with Hindu faith."
There is emergency like situation in Kerala.— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) October 27, 2018
Women of Kerala themselves support the age-old tradition of restricted entry to the Sabarimala, but CM Vijayan, instead of providing relief to the flood-hit, is spending all his energy in tackling peaceful devotees of Lord Ayyappa. pic.twitter.com/BXoDq7eVAg
"There is no restriction for women to offer prayers in any other Ayyappa temple... The uniqueness of the Sabarimala shrine has to be protected," he said.
"The communist government is conspiring against temples. They have created an emergency like situation in Kerala," he added.Recalling that the Left government had not implemented several court orders before, Shah said the court order in the matter should be implemented by respecting the sentiments of devotees.
Making it clear that the saffron party was all set to make the Sabarimala issue one of its main agendas in the state, he concluded his speech by asking party workers to call "Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa."
(With agency inputs)