Says curbs in place to help genuine devotees and keep troublemakers at bay
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday categorically ruled out withdrawing prohibitory orders currently in force in key spots in Sabarimala saying it had been enforced to differentiate between genuine devotees and troublemakers.
Replying to the Opposition demand in the Assembly seeking leave for an adjournment motion on Sabarimala, Mr. Vijayan said the government could not be a mute spectator to attempts of a section claiming to be devotees to block genuine worshippers from trekking to the sacred hill shrine.
Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan rejected the leave to move the notice sought by Congress legislator V.S. Sivakumar and others in the light of the Chief Minister’s elaborate reply. Dissatisfied by the ruling, UDF members stalled the proceedings of the House.
Earlier, the Speaker was forced to adjourn the House for 45 minutes soon after Question Hour when he found it difficult to go ahead with the day’s business. However, the House resumed its sitting to hear the Chief Minister’s reply on the Sabarimala issue.
The main thrust of Mr. Vijayan’s speech was to justify the State government stand and the various actions that the police took to handle the Sabarimala issue in the aftermath of the Supreme Court verdict on entry of all women into the temple. He chose to segregate the genuine devotees and the troublemakers who arrived at Sabarimala, warning that the government would strongly handle agitators to ensure peaceful worship for devotees.
The government will not allow attempts to vitiate the law and order situation, he said and claimed that the government’s actions had earned all-round praise, including that of the High Court. It did not propose to shirk its responsibility of implementing the Supreme Court verdict on women entry since it had already committed itself to do so.
The Chief Minister, while reiterating some of the statements he had made on various occasions ever since the Sabarimala issue took a turn for the worse, said his government was not against devotees, but against the attempts to politicise the Sabarimala issue and force a polarisation using violence.
“The devotees were not being attacked by non-believers, but by a section which wanted to impose its views on others. This is communalism. It was unfortunate that the Congress and the UDF were on the same wavelength as the BJP and the RSS in this issue,” he said.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala maintained that the State government had invited the adverse Supreme Court verdict. The State’s Supreme Court counsel did not refer to some of the main points in the government’s affidavit, but instead pressed for giving equal rights for women to worship in temples.
Mr. Chennithala said it was his earnest opinion that the Sabarimala issue can be resolved only through a constitutional amendment. Reiterating that the UDF was consistent in its stand on the Sabarimala issue, Mr. Chennithala said the CPI(M) and the State government were trying to help the BJP-RSS grow roots in the State.
The Kerala Municipalities (Amendment) Bill, Kerala Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill and Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishments (Amendment) Bill were later referred to the Subject Committee of the House without discussion.