NEW DELHI : Comparing the ongoing controversy over women’s entry in the Sabarimala temple with the Ayodhya dispute, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)-led Dharam Sansad, or congregation of Hindu religious leaders, on Thursday said the judiciary and Kerala government should distance themselves from the traditions and beliefs of Hindus.

Meeting at Prayagraj, the congregation likened Sabarimala to the Ayodhya issue. The VHP is an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)—the parent organization of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which heads the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the centre.

“The court has said that if women wanted to enter the temple and, if they were stopped, then they should be given security to go inside the temple. Since nobody (women) is willing to go inside the temple that is why people are being brought from Sri Lanka and are being taken inside the temple from the rear gate," said RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

The congregation is expected to discuss the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya on Friday.

During a similar meeting of Hindu religious leaders in Delhi on 9 December 2018, Hindu religious leaders had asked the Union government to pass a law to allow the construction of a temple.

The fact that the event is being held just a couple of months before the 2019 general elections has its own significance. Uttar Pradesh, which accounts for as many as 80 Lok Sabha constituencies, is important for the BJP to come back to power at the centre.

The NDA had won 73 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

“We have come across various incidents of maligning Hindu beliefs and traditions. The Sabarimala temple of south India is one of the most recent examples of this campaign of creating an atmosphere of disrespect against the traditions of Hindu temples. The Hindu religion is capable of reforming itself with changing times and it has been doing so," said the religious congregation in a statement issued on Thursday.

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