New Delhi: As Kerala split up in opinion over the entry of women into Sabarimala, RSS has now said that they are open to reform as long as it was done by the right stakeholders.
Speaking to News18, RSS saha prantha karyavahak M Radhakrishnan said that Sabarimala’s customs were deep rooted in the tantric traditions followed in Kerala temples. “We are not against reform but it has to be done by relevant stakeholders. Since it’s a matter of faith for many, reform should happen without hurting sentiments. That’s been the nature of reforms in Hinduism,” he said, adding that the traditions being followed thus far were not hurting any sentiments.
In a historic entry, two women — Bindu (42), a CPI(ML) activist from Koyilandy in Kozhikode district, and Kanakadurga (44), a civil supplies employee from Angadipuram in Malappuram became the first female pilgrims of menstruating age to have achieved the feat after the Supreme Court overturned a traditional ban on women's entry last year.
Irked by their entry into the shrine, pro-Hindutva groups have been protesting since Wednesday, leading to clashes in several areas. While the BJP is supporting Thursday's shutdown, the Congress-led UDF is observing a 'black day'.
Radhakrishnan, however, raised doubts on the women saying that their background was known to one and all. “What is the truth behind these women? The entire world knows. They themselves have announced they are not believers. One of the women’s mother has said that she has worked with Maoists. Why are such women doing these kinds of activities? Usually such hard core Leftists should stand with the people. In this case, the entire populace is against them,” he said.
The RSS leader also hit at the ruling government under Pinarayi Vijayan, saying that this was a political self goal for the CPI(M). He said that the government was supporting the presence of activists and atheists at a shrine where lakhs of devotees converge.
“In any other part of the world will you see a government aiding non-believers who want to attack a major religion’s place of worship? These activists and Maoists have never respected democratic institutions. They are usually seen talking about government-sponsored terror. The irony is now they have been given protection by the same government to hurt the sentiments of believers. Not just political, there will be different kinds of reactions to this. Its only natural,” he added.
Radhakrishnan also did not rule out the possibility of political dividends for the Sangh but added that the fight was beyond the vote bank. “Votes and elections are not the issue, we are standing with the believers. Devaswom board is in government control. Government and Devaswom were the two key stakeholders. Both these stakeholders took a position detrimental to believers. Naturally, the believers were angered. These protests were not pre-organised. You can see that from the way they started. Hindu organisations are standing with the believers in their protest because they are our base. Elections and votes are not the major concern. But the government may be fearing this, which is why they are trying to make it an election issue,” he added.
He further hit out at the government for filing an affidavit that eventually aided the Supreme Court in giving a majoritarian verdict in favour of entry of women into the holy shrine. The CPI(M), he added, will have to face the result of what has been done. He also supported the protests that were taking place.
"The basic problem is that a place of worship is being openly attacked. It's not as if these people who are attacking tradition are not believers hell bent on seeing Ayyappa. That’s the problem. They are here only to question the tradition. So there will be a fallout. They were only blocked from proceeding to the temple, and not physically attacked,” he said, adding that he cannot say that the RSS was behind the protests but there were thousands of devotees involved.
“Devotees expressed their protest at centuries old customs being desecrated. It is obvious they will oppose such violations, but no one was physically attacked,” he said. Notably, the entry of the two women oon Wednesday was marred by the death of a man protesting their entry and the temple shutting down for "purification" ritual post their entry.
“RSS stand is always with devotees. But rest of the protests have been organised by Sabarimala Karma Samithi, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Aikya Vedi etc. These organisations have moved SC. RSS naturally supports the review petition,” he added.
“If you talk about court orders, this government is not showing the same policy regarding implementation of other court orders. Everyone knows this. The govt should have waited till January 22 when SC takes up case. They could have adopted a stand that they will try to educate people in the interim. The govt had many avenues, but never showed interest. They will pay for it,” Radhakrishnan further said.