With the LDF government in Kerala signaling its support for the entry of women to Sabarimala temple, there are mixed reactions coming in from different political parties and all sections of the society across Kerala.
Rahul Easwar, activist, writer and grandson of Kandararu Maheshwararu, of Sabarimala temple, stated in a TV debate before Kairali People TV, “A deity is a legal entity, recognized by India’s constitutional law. This case relating to Sabarimala is not heard on the basis of Article 14, but it is being argued on Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution, which pertains to the right to religion. There is an attempt to create a false equivalence between the Haji Ali case and the Sabarimala case – these are entirely different cases. We will fight this case all the way right up to a Constitutional bench because our fight is to protect the sanctity and legal rights of the deity.”
He further added, “No one is banning women – there is only an age restriction. Also, there are Ayappa temples across the state which can be visited by all devotees at any time. Women devotees of that age are free to go and worship in any of these Ayappa temples. However, Sabarimala temple has an age restriction, keeping the deity’s sankalpa as ”Nithya Bramhachari” in mind. People should respect this and not impose their wishes in a manner that violates the deity’s legal status and rights. Tomorrow if we say men should be allowed to offer pongala at the Attukal temple or that men should manage the Mannarasala temple instead of the Amma, what will happen? There is a ”sankalpa” governing every deity and we must honor and understand this.”
Rahul Easwar also stated, “Many eminent personalities including Supreme Court Judges respect the legal status of the deity. Several times, Justice Kurian Joseph pointed out in court, that the Sabarimala temple’s deity is a legal and a constitutional entity and the deity’s rights have sanctity as per our law. Soon after this, he was removed from the bench hearing the Sabarimala case.”
When asked pointedly about BJP’s stance on the issue, Rahul Easwar refrained from making any direct comments.
The heated debate on Sabarimala is set to escalate further in the coming weeks as political parties and eminent individuals will be forced to take a stand on this controversy.