Sabarimala temple: Karma Samiti to intensify protests

Police officers detain a member of the youth wing of Congress party during a demonstration outside the police commissioner's office demanding to lodge a case against a driver of the cavalcade of the state's chief minister after it hit one of their members

Sabarimala Karma Samiti, an umbrella organisation of various pro-Hindutva groups, and the BJP decided to intensify their agitation against the CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala over the women's entry into the Sabarimala temple.

Alleging "mysterious link between CPI(M) and radical outfits to destroy" the traditions of the Lord Ayyappa temple, a meeting of the Samiti leaders on Thursday also sought an NIA probe into the entry of two women into Sabarimala temple with the support of a Maoist group, hurting sentiments of devotees of Lord Ayyappa.

BJP leaders who met RSS leadership here said they would support the Samiti's agitation to protect the faith of Lord Ayyappa devotees and removal of Pinarayi Vijayan from the state's chief ministership.

Accusing Vijayan of creating tension in the state, Sabarimala Karma Samiti leader S J R Kumar said he had no right to continue as the chief minister of the state.

"The Chief Minister and police took two women into Sabarimala temple with the support of the Maoists. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) should probe the Kerala government's link with the Maoists," Kumar said.

Draped in black and their faces covered in veils, 42-year-old Bindu, a college lecturer and CPI(ML) activist from Kozhikode district's Koyilandy, and Kanakadurga, 44, a civil supplies department employee from Angadipuram in Malappuram, entered the Sabarimala shrine at 3:38 AM on Wednesday.

The right-wing outfits said that they would continue their agitation to protect the faith of Lord Ayyappa devotees.

"Hindu faith in the state is under assault under the LDF rule," they alleged.

A rath yatra of Hindu leaders of the state in protest against the Kerala government's move to "destroy" traditions of Sabarimala temple will be held from January 11, 12 and 13.

The yatra will cover 10 districts of the state barring four southern districts including Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha, Kumar said.

Eighteen crore makara jyoti (lighting of lamps) will be lit across the state on the occasion of Makaravilakku festival in Sabarimala on January 14, he said.

The Karma Samiti will also organise a secretariat march on January 18 in which Ayyappa devotees from four southern districts will participate, Kumar said.

The meeting adopted a resolution supporting the decisions taken by the Sabarimala temple chief priest to protect the customs of the temple.

The meeting also condemned the attack on the chief priest of the temple by the Chief Minister and CPI(M) leaders for ordering purification rituals after two women in the menstruation age group entered the shrine.

"The tantri (chief priest) is under constant attack from the atheists for taking decisions on rituals. We have decided to take up the security of the chief priest," he said.

The meeting of the Karma Samiti was held a day after Kerala witnessed violent clashes between saffron outfits and activists of ruling CPI(M)-led LDF during a hartal called by Karma Samiti in protest against the entry of two women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple on Wednesday. 

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