BJP President Amit Shah said the BJP is standing like a "rock" with Sabarimala devotees.
BJP president Amit Shah today hit out at Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the mass arrests following the protest staged by ayyappa devotees at Sabarimala, saying that the men there were just trying to enforce the century-old religious belief.
"Today in Kerala a struggle is going on between religious beliefs and state government's cruelty. More than 2,000 activists and workers from BJP, RSS and other organisations have been arrested. BJP is standing like a rock with devotees, Left government be warned," he said while addressing a rally at Kannur in Kerala after inaugurating a party office in the city.
Across the state, 2,061 people have been arrested after Mr Vijayan ordered a crackdown on those defying the Supreme Court order on the entry of women in the Sabarimala temple. A total of 452 cases have been registered against 2,300 people.
The Supreme Court had on September 28 overturned a centuries-old practice that barred women of menstrual age (10-50 years) from entering the hill temple, where a celibate deity Lord Ayyappa is worshipped.
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Left government in Kerala has misused the Sabarimala issue: Amit Shah
- The Left government in Kerala has misused the Sabarimala issue. They have used it to arrest workers and supporters of the BJP and other political parties. They have jailed thousands of party workers.
- We want to assure the people of Kerala that the BJP will stand like a mountain in support of your sentiment. We will always be there for the people of Kerala and the devotees of Lord Ayyappa.
- I hereby warn the Left government not to misuse the issue... we know how to give a fitting response.
- That being said, I must also point out that the Hindu religion gives a woman the respect of a mother. We will always respect women and stand for their rights.
- While we respect the courts, and we respect women and their sentiments and rights, we must also respect the fact that this particular temple has some tradition and its devotees have sentiments too. Lord Ayappa was celibate and the devotees feel strongly about it.
- Women should also respect the sentiments of other devotees.
- There are many temples in India where only women are permitted. No one questions the traditions there, neither do people want to... we respect traditions and believe that the temples where only women are permitted, should remain that way.
- I am here to warm the Communist government in the state not to misuse the Supreme Court verdict against other political parties.
- I am also urging the Left government not hassle the devotees, the followers and the people of Kerala at large over this issue.
- There are many issues still unresolved despite court verdicts, where life has moved on without issues becoming confrontational... then why hassle only the people of Kerala.
Kerala Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson A.N. Radhakrishnan told the media that it's the Communist Party of India-Marxist who has attacked the ashram.
"The CPI-M is behind this attack and propagating that we are behind it. We have no role in this," he said.
Senior Congress legislator K Muraleedharan under whose constituency the ashram is located, dismissed Mr Eashwar's statement. "I know what the Swami stands for and he will never do such a thing. This is nothing but a baseless allegation," said Mr Muraleedharan.
Rahul Eashwar, a member of the Sabarimala tantri family, who had come under attack from the preacher said that it's for the police to find out who was behind the arson.
"If the police finds out that I am responsible, then I should be arrested and if it's found out that the Swami himself started the fire, he should be taken to task," he said.
Pinarayi Vijayan was accompanied by Finance Minister Thomas Issac and State Devasom Minister Kadakampally Surendran.
"The Sangh Parivar is trying to silence me for my position taken against them," Swami Sandeepananda Giri was quoted as saying to Pinarayi Vijayan, by news agency IANS.
The Chief Minister who has taken a strong stand against any breach of the court's verdict asked Director General of Police Loknath Behra to take immediate action.
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac alleged that the arson was an attempt to murder the preacher. "Swami Sandeepananda Giri has been valiantly fighting the positions adopted by the Sangh Parivar on the Supreme Court order allowing women of all age groups to enter Sabarimala. In this ashram, only Swami and another person were living. The fire was started in a way to engulf the building. It's only when people from outside alerted the Swami that he got to know about the fire. Thankfully, the fire force reached quickly. This is the extent they will go to attack the real devotees," Mr Isaac said.
Local media reported that a white Maruti Suzuki Omni and a Honda CRV were set ablaze. Reports said police have been posted in the ashram following the attack. Police have registered a case and are on the lookout for the attackers.
Sandeepananda Giri, who is also the director of the ashram, reportedly faced threats after he supported the entry of menstruating age into the hill shrine.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who visited the ashram this morning, condemned the attack. "Physical attacks happen when you can't deal ideologically. We will not allow anyone to take law and order in their hands. Those who are intolerant towards Swami's activities attacked his ashram," Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
Local media reported that a white Omni and a Honda CRV were set ablaze. Reports said police have been posted in the ashram following the attack.
His ashram was attacked by unidentified persons around 2:30 this morning.
Swami Sandeepananda Giri had supported the Supreme Court verdict allowing the entry of women of menstruating age to the famous Sabarimala temple