Sabarimala row: CM, CPI(M), CITU media face a loss of credibility

Written by T Satisan

When Sabarimala temple was reopened on November 5 in connection with the auspicious Atta Chithira, for the devotees and all other peace loving people it was the return of sleepless nights again. The Left Front government led by Pinarayi Vijayan resorted to all sorts of fascist tactics. Deployment of more than 3,000 armed policemen, some of them reportedly carrying even AK-47, stopping vehicles at Nilakkal, the gateway to Sabarimala and Pampa, the last point in the valley, before scaling the hills, disconnection of water and electricity in Sannidhanam, and even closing the toilets were some of the dirtiest tricks from the side of the government. The government found them as the most effective tools to implement their pet idea, that is, the temple entry of at least one young woman.
Pinarayi and his party and his regime miserably failed once again before the mass awakening of the Hindu devotees. Not a single woman of the restricted age between 10 and 50 could come to the shrine and violate the tradition. A few women with suspicious ages were stopped by the devotees with peaceful prayer chanting. Anju, another girl from Kozhikode, came along with her husband and children. She made it clear that she came due to her husband’s compulsion. He apparently is a murder accused and an accused in a bootlegging case. His brother is a CPI(M) local secretary. So, obviously it was a CPI(M) game plan. Later, even though few women were stopped due to suspected age, once their age was proved with the help of ID proofs they were extended all possible help, by the devotees, to have darshan.
This time, RSS Kerala Prantiya Vidyarthi Pramukh Valsan Thillankerry and BJP state general secretary K. Surendran remained in Sannidhi to control the devotees. The police failed to control the crowd so they sought the help of RSS leader Thillenkerry.
Even though the vehicles were stopped by the police for more than 10 hours at Nilakkal, thousands of devotees opted to walk to the shrine scaling the hills. Nilakkal to Pampa distance is 20 km. Pampa to shrine hilly path is 4.5 km. Still more than 12,000 devotees turned up compared to the 1000 – 1500 of last year during this 24 hours pilgrimage.
Pinarayi had declared that the pilgrims would have to leave the Sannidhi once they complete the darshan. In another words, they were not supposed to stay back in Sannidhi like they did two weeks back. CPM knew that those who stayed back in Sannidhi were instrumental to stop the young women from entering the shrine. But, government had to swallow their declaration. The devotees stayed back and made sure that no young woman entered the temple. In fact, the DS of Police used the good offices of Valsan Thillankerry to control the devotees. Police gave their public address system to Valsan to control the vast congregation of devotees. When RSS-inspired Janam TV aired the fascist actions of the government, they had to come to their knees: They re-connected the water and electricity. They gave nod to the vehicles to move. They opened the toilets. And, as an anti-climax the policewomen checked the ID proofs of the women to ascertain their age ! That is, they at last agreed to the devotee’s stand.
And, when the shrine closed for the time being on November 8 night, the whole state heaved a sigh of relief. Twenty four hours long high tension and anxiety were over. No untoward incidents took place.
When the shrine was opened on November 5, the thanthri of the temple had stated that if the traditions were violated, he would close the temple and hand over the key to the Pandalam
Royal family. That he had consulted BJP state president Adv. P.S Sreedharan Pillai in this regard had been misused by the anti-Hindutwa forces including the government and the CPM. There is even threat of legal action against Adv. Pillai. But, BJP leader shot back that he does not bother about any litigation. He added that a CPM fraction is active among journalists to whip up anti-RSS/BJP/Hindutwa passions. He also declared that his party has filed a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission against the LDF government and Thiruvithamcoor Dewaswom Board (TDB) for violating humans rights in Shabarimala by stopping the vehicles, disconnecting water and electricity at Sannidhanam, denying drinking water there and locking the toilets. Thousands of devotees could not avail any comfort stations for more than 24 hours.
Meanwhile, it looks like TDB chairman A. Padmakumar has turned a persona non grata of the CM. He got wind of a change in Kumar’s attitude towards the young women’s temple entry issue. Kumar had even told the media that TDB would go for review petition before SC. But, Pinarayi summoned him and asked to change his stand; he had no option ! Now, K.P. Sankaradas, the member of TDB, is the CM’s blue eyed boy. He stirred a hornets’ nest by walking upstairs and downstairs on the sacred pathinettampati, the holy path to the shrine, sans irumutikkettu containing the holy articles. Such a movement is a taboo in Shabarimala. Thanthri has stated that a penance is required for it.
Also, another section that faced a loss of credibility is the so-called secular media. BJP state president PS Sreedharan Pillai indicated the existence of a ’12-member CPM Fraction’ in the media, which sets the agenda for media. People rejected such media houses and tuned into Janam TV, which stood by the devotees. Janam TV also exposed the duplicity of the media which showed only one side of the picture. These outlets painted devotees as goons and vilified them.

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T Satisan

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