The CPI on Thursday accused the BJP-RSS combine and Congress of indulging in “double-talk” and playing “dirty games” over the Sabarimala issue to target the Left government in Kerala by exploiting people’s sentiments.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) is the second biggest constituent of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist.
CPI National General Secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy termed as “very unfortunate” the protests in Kerala against the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of women of all ages to the hill shrine.
“They (agitators) should respect the SC judgement in spite of the sentiment which they may be having (against it),” Reddy said.
“Gender equality has to be accepted in the 21st century. The old things cannot continue like this,” he told agencies.
On Wednesday, protesters opposing the apex court order allowing the entry of women of menstrual age group into the shrine turned violent at Nilackal and clashed with the police, who resorted to baton-charge.
Reddy said there was a “political angle” vis-a-vis the agitation because Kerala is ruled by a Left front government.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) combine welcomed the judgement at the national level but are opposing it in the state, he said.
“So, this is a dirty game. They want to fight behind communalism. There are many such beliefs among people which are unscientific. This should not continue and the RSS-BJP should not indulge in double talk, one at the Centre and one at the state level,” he said.
If the BJP-RSS have “got any morality”, they should control their people at the state level and make them withdraw the agitation, he added.
On Congress lending its support to the stir, Reddy said the party was behaving in a “very irresponsible” manner.
“This is all third-rate type of politics,” Reddy said adding, the Congress being the main opposition party in Kerala was “very irresponsible in behaving like this”.
The veteran Communist leader said both the BJP and the Congress were unnecessarily politicising the issue and exploiting the religious sentiments of the people.
He also clarified that the government cannot file a review petition in the court as it has already filed an affidavit in the SC stating it has no objection over women praying at the shrine.
“(Travancore) Devaswom Board (which manages over 1,200 temples in the state, including the Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala) can go for an appeal if they want… They should discuss with the state government but the state government cannot do this (file review petition),” Reddy said.
“On October 19th, there is a meeting of the Devaswom Board, they may discuss and decide,” he said.
On the agitation drawing significant support in the state, he admitted that there was quite a big section of people on the streets but stressed that emotional issues can be dealt with only if the people are objective.
“But if the RSS wants to take advantage of the sentiment and Congress too wants to utilise this (opportunity) to fight against the LDF government, it will not be possible (to deal with this issue properly),” he added.
On September 28, a five-judge Constitution bench of the SC, headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine.