Vol. XLII No. 47 November 25, 2018

Sabarimala: Foiling the BJP-RSS Gameplan

THE agitation launched by the BJP-RSS against the verdict of the Supreme Court on entry of women of all ages to the Sabarimala temple has been exposed for what it is. The plan of the Sangh brigade is to provoke violence and create trouble within the temple premises and to put the blame on the LDF government of Kerala for destroying the sanctity of the temple. The BJP state president, Sreedharan Pillai, himself told the media that their struggle was against the Communist government and not the entry of women into the temple.

This was also confirmed by a circular sent to BJP units by one of the state general secretaries giving the schedule to mobilise workers from various districts and the leaders who are given the responsibility for leading these groups. This circular was issued on November 11, five days before the temple opened for a longer period stretching up to January 20 next year. 

This has been followed by the exposure of another circular issued by the Kannur district committee of BJP asking for 200 activists to be sent to Sabarimala on December 13. The circular states they should be trained persons and carry necessary “materials” in their handbags.

After the Supreme Court judgement in September, the temple had opened twice for short periods in October and November.  On these occasions, the BJP-RSS had sent its activists, including some criminal elements, to take control of the temple premises and to prevent any woman attempting to enter the temple.  More than 4,000 of these trouble-makers were arrested subsequently by identifying them through video pictures.

When the temple re-opened on November 16 for the mandala pooja, the police had been deployed in strength on the entire route to the temple and prohibitory orders were enforced. BJP-RSS leaders and volunteers who were trying to enter the temple premises in the night were arrested.  Thus, the police pre-empted any move to take control of the temple premises and to create trouble. There was no hindrance for the tens of thousands of devotees who had begun to flow in to pray  at the temple. 

It is this firm stance of the administration which has led to howls of protest from the Sangh brigade, including a sudden call for a statewide hartal on November 17, which actually inconvenienced a large number of pilgrims who had come for the Sabarimala pilgrimage from outside the state.  There is a chorus of condemnation of the state government by the BJP leadership ranging from Amit Shah to the union minister Alphons Kannanthanam. They are falsely accusing the police and the administration of harassing the devotees, when the actual fact is that only identified BJP-RSS men bent on creating trouble are being apprehended. 

In tandem with the RSS-BJP agitation, the Congress party in Kerala has been conducting protests against the implementation of the Supreme Court verdict. It has shamelessly lined up behind the Hindutva forces in condemning the state government and echoing the demands of the BJP.  By doing so, it has become an accomplice in advancing the political agenda of the BJP.

The CPI(M) and the LDF have been conducting an intensive campaign amongst the people regarding the Supreme Court verdict, its significance for gender equality and social reform and the stand of the LDF government regarding implementation of the verdict. 

The agitation against the verdict of the Supreme Court on Sabarimala is part of the all-India gameplan of the BJP and RSS to stir up communal tensions and create communal polarisation.  Given the all-round failure of the Modi government and with the Lok Sabha elections just six months away, the BJP and RSS have begun to desperately revive communal and divisive issues. Central amongst them is the Ram temple at Ayodhya.

After the Supreme Court decided not to accord an early hearing and to take up the matter only in January next year, the RSS led the orchestrated campaign that this decision to delay the hearing has “hurt Hindu sentiments”.  The RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, in his Vijayadasami address called upon the government to bring a legislation to facilitate the building of the temple.  Another RSS leader talked of organising another Ram Janmabhoomi movement.

This was followed by the holding of a gathering of an RSS-sponsored `Sant Samiti’ consisting of various swamis and sadhus in Delhi on November 3-4.   From this convention, a call has been given to hold three `dharam sabhas’ in Ayodhya, Nagpur and Bengaluru on November 24.  A bigger gathering of sadhus will be held on December 9 at Delhi.  This will be followed by 500 more such meetings across the country from December 18 onwards. 

The political agenda behind this campaign for the temple was also revealed when the sadhus and swamis passed a resolution to bring back the Modi government “to protect our lives, temples, maths, daughters, sisters, culture and tradition”. 

So the campaign to revive the building of Ram temple at Ayodhya and the agitation against the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala are part and parcel of the pre-election agenda of the Sangh parivar.  The campaign in Kerala to counter the BJP-RSS machinations on the Sabarimala temple issue is, therefore, a vital part of the overall struggle against the Hindutva communal forces.

(November 21, 2018)