On September 28, 2018, the five-judge bench of Supreme Court headed by the former CJI Dipak Misra, in a 4:1 judgment, opened the doors of Sabarimala Temple to women of all age groups by lifting the ban on entry of women from age group 10-51.
The decision by the apex court was met positively by most people, especially women, in an extremely cheerful manner. It seemed like a must-needed step towards gender equality. But for some it seems, the sentiments of devotees outweigh the call for equality of women.
In the latest statement released by the RSS on the Sabarimala verdict, the organization, not directly, has questioned the decision of SC by stating that 'sentiments of the devotees cannot be ignored'.
Initially in their statement, RSS seemed to accept the decision given by the apex court. Their message read, "The recent Judgement on Sabarimala Devasthanam has evoked reactions all over the country. While we all respect the varied temple traditions followed by devotees in Bharat, we have to also honour the Honourable Supreme Court."
But as the statement went on, it became worryingly evident that the RSS was choosing devotees' side on this matter. "In the case of Sabarimala Devasthanam also, it is an issue of a local temple tradition and faith to which sentiments of millions of devotees, including women, are attached. These sentiments of the devotees cannot be ignored while considering the judgement," the statement further read.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan announced that his government will not file a review petition against the SC verdict, and on Wednesday said that it will start its preparation to make sure that women can also visit the holy temple. The RSS though, weren't pleased with this decision of the Kerala government.
"Unfortunately, the Kerala Government has taken steps to implement the judgement with immediate effect without taking the sentiments of the devotees into consideration. There is an obvious reaction to the same by the devotees, especially women, who are protesting against the forceful breaking of the tradition. While the Supreme Court Judgement should be respected, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh calls upon all the stakeholders, including spiritual and community leaders to come together to analyse and address the issue availing judicial options also. They must convey their concerns on their right to worship in a manner which best suits their faith and devotion, to the authorities in a peaceful manner," the RSS further added.