CM Vijayan blames RSS for violent protests, says it turned temple into 'war zone'
Thiruvananthapuran, Oct 23: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday blamed the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) for chaos and protests outside the Sabarimala Temple and held it responsible for preventing the women in the age group of 10-50 from entering the holy shrine.
Vijayan, while maintaining that there was no law and order problem said "I don't think there was a law and order failure at SabarimalaTemple. Kerala government made it clear in front of the Supreme Court that it will implement the verdict. The govt arranged all facilities. Neither govt nor the police tried to block the devotees. RSS tried to make SabarimalaTemple a war zone."
"Protesters tried to check vehicles, attacked women devotees and media persons. It was the first time in the history of Kerala that this type of attitude was shown towards the media," he said.
Saying it was evident that the attacks were part of a well-planned criminal conspiracy, the CM said when women started their climb for the hill shrine, their houses were attacked. "They (attackers) had been monitoring the movement of these women minute by minute, in order to perpetrate the coordinated attacks. All this is part of the Sangh Parivar's strategy to turn the temple into a warzone," he added.
"We will clear Sabarimala of 'criminals and assaulters'," he vowed.
The remarks from Vijayan came hours after the sanctum sanctorum of the famed temple was closed around 10 PM on Monday - the day that saw five women making an unsuccessful effort to pray at the hill temple, where tradition had barred women aged between 10 and 50.
Since Wednesday, Kerala had been on the boil after the temple opened for its customary monthly pujas, the first time after the September 28 verdict by the top court which overturned a centuries-old practice that barred women of menstrual age from entering the hill temple.
Valiant attempts by around a dozen women, including activists and journalists in the 10-50 years age group to script history came to nought as frenzied devotees of Lord Ayyappa, the eternally celibate deity, heckled and hassled them and forced them to retreat.
Several people, including journalists, were injured on Wednesday as police cracked down on protesters who were up in arms against Kerala's Left Front government for its decision to enforce the Supreme Court order.