Sena threat­ens mass sui­cides if women en­ter Sabari­mala

Gulf Times - - INDIA -

The Ker­ala unit of Shiv Sena yes­ter­day threat­ened to stage mass sui­cides if women in the 10-50 age group are al­lowed to en­ter the Sabari­mala tem­ple.

P Aji, a se­nior Shiv Sena leader, told IANS here that their “sui­cide squads” com­pris­ing men and women above 50 are ready for the supreme sacri­fice.

“Our mem­bers will be sta­tioned at var­i­ous places in and around the tem­ple and if any woman not sup­posed to en­ter the tem­ple is granted ac­cess, then their sui­cide squad mem­bers will take their lives,” Aji warned.

The Shiv Sena’s threat comes hours af­ter gen­der equal­ity ac­tivist Trupti De­sai said that she was de­ter­mined to visit the tem­ple shortly.

“We want the tem­ple tra­di­tion and cul­ture to be pro­tected and that’s our only de­mand. Hun­dreds of our ac­tivists will reach the tem­ple town on Oc­to­ber 17 and guard all en­try points to the famed tem­ple,” added Aji.

Given the ag­gres­sive pos­tur­ing of the Shiv Sena mem­bers, now all eyes will be on the way the Ker­ala gov­ern­ment led by Chief Min­is­ter Pi­narayi Vi­jayan – who has an­nounced that the state gov­ern­ment will en­sure ad­her­ence to the Supreme Court ver­dict – han­dles the sit­u­a­tion when the tem­ple doors open on Oc­to­ber 18.

On Septem­ber 28, the Supreme Court de­liv­ered its ver­dict against the age-old tra­di­tion that banned the en­try of women be­tween 10 and 50 years into the Sabari­mala tem­ple.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, po­lice in Kol­lam dis­trict yes­ter­day reg­is­tered a case against ac­tor Kol­lam Thu­lasi for his state­ment at a pub­lic meet­ing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA cam­paign against the court rul­ing.

He said: “Women com­ing to Sabari­mala tem­ple should be ripped in half,” and one half should be thrown to Delhi and the other half to the Of­fice of Chief Min­is­ter Vi­jayan.

But sens­ing that his state­ment had crossed lim­its of de­cency, he quickly apol­o­gised.

Mean­while ac­tivist De­sai said: “We will an­nounce a date very soon to visit the tem­ple... There should be no at­tempt to stop us be­cause we now have equal rights.”

De­sai played a ma­jor role in open­ing up to women shrines like Mum­bai’s Haji Ali.

Re­act­ing sharply to the re­marks of the ac­tivist who is also the founder of the Pune-based Bhu­mata Bri­gade, Ker­ala BJP pres­i­dent P S Sreed­ha­ran Pil­lai said De­sai should not chal­lenge the emo­tions and feel­ings of the devo­tees of the tem­ple.

Women hold plac­ards as they at­tend a protest march called by var­i­ous Hindu or­gan­i­sa­tions against the lift­ing of ban by Supreme Court that al­lowed en­try of young women to the Sabari­mala tem­ple, in Kochi yes­ter­day.

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