- CPM government's conduct on Sabarimala will go down in history, PM said
- We know CPM government never respected spirituality, religion, he added
- The CPM hit back in a tweet saying, "Kerala does need cultural lessons"
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today ripped into Kerala's Left-led government and the opposition Congress over the handling of the Sabarimala temple issue since the Supreme Court verdict ended the shrine's traditional ban on women of reproductive age. Amid the massive protests -- against the verdict and the women who reached Sabarimala -- the state government had said it was duty-bound to implement the top court's orders.
The state's stand had drawn enormous criticism from the right-wing groups who had hit the streets over the issue. Attacks also came from the BJP, which has been trying to expand its footprint in the state.
In Kollam today for the launch of two projects, PM Modi said: "The CPM government's conduct on Sabarimala will go down in history as the most shameful action of any government in power... We know CPM government never respected spirituality, religion... but no one thought it would turn so shameful".
The Congress-led UDF, which is now in the opposition, is "no better", he said. Accusing the Congress of having multiple stands, he challenged the UDF to "clearly state your stand".
While the state BJP had openly backed the traditional ban and the strikes to protest against the court order, the Congress had not been vocal about its support.
In his interview of ANI on New Year's day, PM Modi said the ban on women between the ages of 10 and 50 at the Sabarimala temple was a matter of tradition. "There are some temples which have their own traditions, where men can't go. And men don't go," he said.
Further, referring to the dissenting verdict of Indu Malhotra -- the only woman judge in the top court bench that delivered the order -- the Prime Minister said she had made certain "observations".
"It needs to be read minutely. There is no need to attribute those to any political party. As a woman, she has made some suggestions. There should be a debate on that as well sometimes," he had added.
The CPM hit back with a tweet:
Shameful that Modi attacked the LDF Govt for implementing Supreme Court's order on #Sabarimala while inaugurating a project in Kollam in Kerala.— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) January 15, 2019
Modi should read the Indian constitution which he is sworn to uphold rather than Manusmriti or RSS oath! https://t.co/eCMsvDIAH7
What is shameful is your party leaders defending rapists, what is shameful is BJP leaders defending Sati, AND what is shameful is ruling BJP members defying the country's top court and Constitution, Mr Modi! Kerala does not need cultural lessons from regressive forces.— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) January 15, 2019
Critics, however, said the method of the Kerala government's implementation of the top court's order left much to be desired. With nominal police protection, the women who had attempted the arduous trek to the hill shrine had to turn back in face of angry protesters, who, the government said, were backed by the BJP and right-wing groups.
After three months of protests, a young woman managed to enter the shrine for the first time on January 3.