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Sitaram Yechury Compares Sabarimala Unrest to Babri Demolition, Says RSS Playing Vote Bank Politics

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury has compared the ongoing protests at the Sabarimala shrine against women’s entry to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.


Updated:October 19, 2018, 11:22 PM IST
Sitaram Yechury
File photo of CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. (PTI)

Chennai: CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Friday drew parallels between the ongoing Sabarimala protests and Babri Masjid demolition and said the “pattern in which the protests are happening is similar to the pattern of Babri protests.”

Accusing the RSS of doing vote bank politics over the issue, he said: "This is the worst form of vote bank politics being played in the country at the expense of destroying social harmony. The women were roughed up, and it is all by the RSS. It lost the battle and they will again lose the battle. Those who want to enter cannot be stopped and just wait actions will be taken,” he added.

A large number of devotees blocked the young women and police team escorting them at Valiya Nadappandhal, the queue complex located a few metres away from the holy 'pathinettam padi' (the 18 sacred steps), leading to the sanctum sanctorum. The women were identified as a reporter from Hyderabad in her late 20s and an activist from Kerala. The devotees, including senior citizens and children, protested against the entry of women of menstrual age group into the hill shrine.

Tension was defused after the women agreed to return as the state government made it clear it did not want to take them to the Sannidhanam, the temple complex, by using force against the protesting devotees. The firm stand taken by the 'tantri' (head priest) that he would close the temple if the women were escorted into the sanctum sanctorum also persuaded them to return as per instructions of the police.

The top Marxist party leader also demanded to know why the Centre was not applying the yardstick of equal treatment of women it used on the triple talaq issue to the Sabarimala row and blamed the BJP for whipping up communal passions for electoral gains. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) would "lose the Sabarimala battle," Yechury said.

Asked if his party-led Left Democratic Front government in Kerala will oppose review pleas on Sabarimala issue before the Supreme Court, he said it was for the government to answer.

In a historic judgment last month, the apex court had lifted the ban on entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the hill temple.

Citing the Centre's advisory to Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to take precautionary measures in view of some Hindu outfits planning protests, he said law and order was being maintained by the Kerala government. "Those disturbing law and order will be dealt with they are being dealt with," Yechury told reporters.

On triple talaq, he said the Centre recently promulgated an ordinance making it illegal saying the practice was unequal treatment of women, he said. "The government did that saying equality of men and women is fundamental to our constitution and that it should be protected."

"Therefore triple talaq is unequal treatment of women and they brought this ordinance. Same principle why they are not applying for Sabarimala?" he asked.

His party had taken a stand against triple talaq for its "arbitary use and instant application so we said that needs to be reformed."

The Centre still has the option of going in for a legislation or ordinance to circumvent the apex court verdict on Sabarimala "if they are really interested," the way it did for the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, he said.

However, "the real point here is to whip up communal polarisation with the hope that it will get some political and electoral benefit," he said.

Accusing BJP of playing a "worst form of vote bank politics," he said "they are seeking the consolidation of Hindutva communal vote bank at the expense of destroying our social harmony, unity and integrity of our country and this is very dangerous."

He accused the BJP and Congress in Kerala, of "duplicity" on Sabarimala issue adding the saffron party and congress reversed its stand after initially welcoming the verdict.

Yechury said the state-wise electoral strategy (for the Lok Sabha 2019 election) would be worked out as per the recent central committee meet resolve to defeat BJP and its allies, strengthen the CPI(M) and the Left in Parliament and work for an alternate secular government at the Centre.

The Muslim Women -Protection of Rights on Marriage- Ordinance was promulgated last month and a Bill in this regard was passed by Lok Sabha last year which is now pending in the Rajya Sabha.

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