On Thursday, following the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala, the Communist-led Kerala government LDF government described the verdict of the top court as “very complex” and refused to provide any assistance to women wishing to enter the Sabarimala shrine.
Reportedly, Kerala Law Minister AK Balan, speaking to the media on Thursday, said that the state is yet to decide whether it will provide assistance to a woman between the age group of 10-50 if they attempt to enter the Sabarimala shrine. The Kerala government also refused to spell out on the arrangements made to handle the situation if women attempt to enter the hill shrine in the coming days.
“The state government won’t provide any assistance for women in the 10-50 age group to enter the Holy shrine if they try to do so. We are yet to decide on what has to be done if any women in the 10-50 age group show interest. The order is highly complicated and needs to be studied further,” he said.
Even Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who had received a lot of flak for his support for the desecration of Sabarimala shrine and the government’s atrocities last year, seems to have toned down his enthusiasm after Thursday’s SC verdict. Though Vijayan avoided direct questions on whether his government will escort women into the shrine, like it did last year, law minister Balan’s statement was indicative that the LDF government may not.
“There is ambiguity. The verdict has created more confusion and its implications need to be understood in depth. We will consult legal experts and formulate a stand. Whatever the verdict, the government is bound to implement that,” Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan said to the media on Thursday.
The Kerala Congress, which had been against the LDF government’s atrocities on devotees and attempts to desecrate the temple, reacted soon after the SC verdict yesterday. Congress’ Ramesh Chennithala urged the LDF not to send any more ‘atheists’ into the temple claiming to be devotees.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi could not come to a conclusive decision in Sabarimala review petitions and referred the case to a larger bench by a 3:2 majority. The Supreme Court had reserved its judgment in the Sabarimala verdict after hearing the review petitions in September this year, challenging the court’s verdict of lifting the ban on women of menstrual age to enter the shrine of Sabarimala.
Hearing the review petitions challenging the 2018 verdict, the Supreme Court had said that the issue of women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple is not just limited to Sabarimala, but to the entry of women into Mosques as well.
The apparent shift in the stand of the Kerala government on the issue of entry of women into Sabarimala shrine comes after the communists suffered a humiliating defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Following the election rout, the Pinarayi Vijayan government seems to have learnt the hard way that interfering and desecrating the age-old religious customs and traditions of the Hindus could prove costly in the elections.
In the garb of devotees, the Kerala government was seen escorting non-Hindu and atheist women, mostly communist workers, into the shrine last year.
In the guise of implementing Supreme Court judgement, the Kerala government, with the help of state police force had turned the area near Sabarimala into a war zone after some devotees had clashed with the police. The Kerala police had also unleashed violence against thousands of Hindu devotees by pelting stones and lathi charging as the situation went out of control.
As Kerala government forcefully attempted to enforce the controversial Supreme Court judgement, the state of Kerala saw huge protests organised by Hindu devotees. The massive protests had come as a result of the Kerala government trying to stop genuine devotees while allowing activists and non-Hindus to enter the Sabarimala shrine, even escorting them.