Don’t desecrate Sabarimala temple: Tharoor to RSS, BJP

Trivandrum: Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Friday requested the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Kerala government among others to not play politics with the respect attached with the Sabarimala temple and not “desecrate” it.

“I believe this is a very important issue that raises some very profound questions about the change in the interface between traditional modernity and our society in a changing world, and it cannot be handled lightly. What we have seen with the BJP’s behavior in terms of violence that they have conducted and the intimidation of the people in Sabarimala have utterly been disgraceful. Reducing this sanctified shrine to a place for political theatre while the BJP chief locally gloats that this has been a golden opportunity for his party is utterly shameful,” Tharoor told ANI here.

He added that the state government is also responsible for the tense situation in Sabarimala temple. At the same time, Tharoor said, the ruling party in the state and the government acted in a haste to push through the implementation of the Supreme Court justice without adequately involving and consulting all stakeholders.

“They have also contributed to creating this drama. Unfortunately, many of their sympathizers have attacked the offices of the Nair Service Society (NSS) creating a completely unhealthy atmosphere and vitiating the environment in which a solution can still be found,” he added.

Tharoor went on to add that “we need to respect the wishes of believers and we have to ensure that law and order is maintained.” “All of this calls for extensive consultations and discussions among all stakeholders rather than indulging in the political drama we have seen being carried out around Sabarimala temple. It is a holy place. I request the RSS and the BJP and others, please do not desecrate it,” he added.

Tharoor’s statement comes after the Kerala High Court on Thursday observed that the protest in Sabarimala temple was against the Supreme Court verdict. The Sabarimala temple and its surrounding areas saw a series of protests in October over the Supreme Court’s decision, quashing restrictions on the entry of females between 10 and 50 years of age group into the holy shrine.

Despite the apex court’s order, no female in menstruating ages was able to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple when it opened this October. Over 3,000 protesters were arrested for instigating the violence that broke out in the state, while around 529 cases were registered in this regard.