Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and BJP party president Amit Shah have engaged in a remarkable war of words over the events witnessed at the famous Sabarimala temple recently, with the latter firmly throwing his weight behind devotees and the 'preservation of culture' and the former terming Shah's remarks as an attack on the Supreme Court, Indian Constitution and the judicial system.
Speaking in Kannur, where he inaugurated the BJP's new party office, Shah said, "Today in Kerala a struggle is going on between religious beliefs and the state government's cruelty. More than 2000 activists and workers from BJP, RSS and other organisations have been arrested. BJP is standing like a rock with devotees. Let the Left government be warned."
Accusing the Left government of attempting to create a rift in over the Supreme Court's judgment allowing women aged 10-50 in Sabarimala for the first time in centuries, Shah added, "In the name of court judgement, those who want to incite violence let me tell you that there are many temples which run on different rules and norms."
Shah continued: "In Sabarimala temple the women's entry is not allowed and also there are many temples in India where women are allowed and men are not allowed. Kerala government, pay attention to the development of the state and Lord Ayyappa will take care of his devotees. You don't have to worry about that," he added.
Responding to this, the first of two speeches made by Shah, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan issued the following statement:
"The remarks of BJP President Amit Shah in Kannur are an attack on Supreme Court, Indian Constitution and our judicial system. BJP president’s assertion that courts must only pronounce verdicts which could be carried out conveys the message that fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution are not meant to be implemented. These statements of Shah also reveal the true colour of RSS and Sangh Parivar.
His argument that gender equality must not be implemented through temple entry laws is a precursor to the argument that caste based discrimination must not be abolished by law. His ramblings also reveal their indebtedness to the obsolete views of gender inequality propounded by Manusmriti. The civil society, which upholds fundamental rights including gender equality, must rise up against these uncivilized ideologies.
Amit Shah, who threatened to oust the LDF Government, must remember that this Government did not come to power at the mercy of BJP but with the support of the people of this state. It must also be noted that the BJP leader dared to threaten a democratically elected Government because of it stood by Supreme Court verdict and its commitment to protect fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution."
Following this, addressing his second speech in Kerala, Shah reiterated that the BJP was with the Sabarimala devotees and renewed his attack on the Kerala government over the arrests made following the protests that had broken out after the temple opened its gates this month. He said, "BJP is with the Sabarimala devotees and will ensure that no devotee is hurt. The injustice that has been done in the name of the Supreme Court's verdict is not right."