Ernakulam: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has alleged that the Sangh Parivar, its affiliates, and the people who sided with it was responsible for the violence at the temple site.
Last week’s violent protests against the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of menstrual age to enter the temple shrine were pre-planned and orchestrated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological mentor the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vijayan said at a press conference on Tuesday.
The chief minister effectively brushed aside one of the main demands of the protestors and said that “there is no question of a review petition", and the Kerala government will not change its stand, supporting women’s entry, because of such “intimidating tactics".
Vijayan said the Sangh Parivar wants to turn the temple into a battleground, but the state will allow “nobody to bully women".
“We will provide protection to all devotees who wish to visit. We have no double standards on Sabarimala. It was the RSS and the BJP which conspired to unleash violence. We will not yield to their pressure tactics," he said.
The temple was closed on Monday and is set to reopen on 3 November for the annual pilgrimage.
In a first, Vijayan, in a series of speeches, tore into the support base of the BJP-RSS on the issue, targeting the head priest and the members of the Pandalam royal family, who are associated with the temple’s rituals and command respect from devotees. Vijayan came down heavily on the head priest for threatening the state last week with a shut down if women were allowed entry.
“The tantri should realize that Sabarimala is not his family property. It is a publicly-owned property under the Travancore Devaswom (a state-run temple trust). Don’t mistake wielding a key to a door as wielding power," he said at a public meeting in Pathanamthitta town, one of the nerve centers of the protests.
Vijayan also declined the Congress’ demand for a special Assembly session to discuss the matter.
Reacting to the chief minister’s statement, BJP leader Sreedharan Pillai challenged him to call for a judicial probe on the violence. “He is lamenting like a loser," Pillai said