RSS revisits its stand on Sabarimala issue

RSS seems to have revisited its stand on entry for women in temples and asked spiritual and community leaders to analyse and address the issue

As politics over the issue hots up in Kerala after the Supreme Court order lifting the ban on entry of women of all ages in the shrine and Kerala BJP fuelling the protest, RSS general secretary Suresh (Bhayyaji) Joshi on Wednesday made a nuanced statement, balancing the need to “honour the Honourable Supreme Court” and “right (of devotees) to worship in a manner which best suits their faith and devotion.”

Observing that the recent judgement on Sabarimala Devasthanam has evoked reactions all over the country, Joshi at the outset said, “While we all respect the varied temple traditions followed by devotees in Bharat, we have to also honour the Honourable Supreme Court.”

He, however, argued that in the case of Sabarimala Devasthanam, it is also “an issue of a local temple tradition and faith” to which sentiments of millions of devotees, including women, are attached.

Joshi also trained his guns on the Left Democratic Front government of Kerala saying that “unfortunately” the government has taken steps to implement the judgement with immediate effect “without taking the sentiments of the devotees into consideration”.

“Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh calls upon all the stakeholders, including spiritual and community leaders to come together to analyse and address the issue availing judicial options also. They must convey their concerns on their right to worship in a manner which best suits their faith and devotion, to the authorities in a peaceful manner,” Joshi said in the statement.

The RSS statement came after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan made public his government’s decision not to file a review petition against the SC verdict. 

RSS shifts

The RSS statement on Wednesday is at variance with its stand taken in 2016 during the annual meeting of the Akhil Bhartiya Pratinidhi Sabha in Nagaur near Jodhpur, Joshi had said that unfair traditions have banned women in many temples and called for change in mindset through discussion.

Those remarks were made at the height of the row over the ban on the entry of women into the sanctum sanctorum of Trimbakeshwar temple in Nashik when Bhumata Ranragini Brigade chief Trupti Desai and others were detained while they tried to enter the sanctum sanctorum.

Way back in 2006 as well, RSS had lent its weight behind the demand for opening up the Sabarimala shrine to any woman, who wanted to visit the temple. P Parameswaran, the then director of the Thiruvananthapuram-based RSS think-tank Bharatiya Vichara Kendram, had strongly backed the demand.

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RSS revisits its stand on Sabarimala issue

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