Sabarimala: Shah slams govt, says 'Emergency-like'

Sabarimala: Shah slams govt, says 'Emergency-like'

BJP National President Amit Shah on his arrival at the Kannur International Airport in Kannur on Saturday. PTI photo

BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday launched an all-out attack on the CPM-led Kerala Government over its “oppressive” tactics in implementing the Supreme Court judgment which allowed entry for women of all ages to the Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala.

Addressing BJP workers in Kannur after formally opening the party’s new district office, Shah said BJP activists across the country would back devotees in their resistance against the implementation of the judgment. The BJP president who started his address with a Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa chant referred to the Sabarimala struggle as a fight between faith and an oppressive government.

“Since October 26, about 2,000 activists of the BJP, RSS, NSS and BDJS activists have been jailed. I want the Communist government to know that in response to use of force against the devotees of Lord Ayyappa, BJP workers across the country will fully back the devotees in their fight,” Shah said.

Shah’s call for defiance has set the tone for an intense political face-off in Kerala where the Sabarimala row is set to be a key plank in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. That he spoke in Kannur – a familiar stage for the Sangh’s face-off with CPM – also carries political import.

Police have arrested more than 2,800 people in connection with protests staged against the implementation of the apex court’s judgment between October 17 and 22, when the temple was open for monthly pujas. Protests were held with backing from the BJP-RSS, members of the tantri (the temple head priest) family and the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam, former custodians of the temple. During the five days of pujas, protesters thwarted attempts by about 15 women to enter the temple. On Friday, the Kerala High Court observed that the government, in its crackdown on protesters, should not target people not involved in the agitation.

Shah said gender equality should not be achieved through the entry to temples and courts should pass orders that could be implemented. “There’s an Emergency-like situation in Kerala. Women themselves are coming out to protest (entry of women in the 10-50 years age group). Peaceful devotees are being targeted. The flood-hit people of Kerala would have been grateful if Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his government showed the same application on relief measures,” he said.

Visit to Pinarayi
Shah visited the family of slain BJP activist Ramith in Pinarayi, the Chief Minister’s native village. “Visited the home of our karyakarta Ramith, in Pinarayi village, who was brutally killed by communist goons. Ramith’s father, Chavassery Uttaman was similarly killed in 2002,” Shah tweeted later. The BJP president who arrived at the Kannur International Airport in a private aircraft is among the first visitors to the yet-to-be-commissioned airport.

Later in the day, Shah attended celebrations of the Sree Narayana Guru Mahasamadhi Navati at Varkala, in Thiruvananthapuram. Speaking at the event organised at the Sivagiri Mutt, Shah said he did not want to “talk politics” but reiterated his party’s support to the fight for protecting traditions at Sabarimala. The BJP president will return to New Delhi on Sunday.

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