Trying to turn the tables on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on the Sabarimala temple issue, Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran today claimed that hardcore Sangh leaders had approached the Supreme Court 12 years ago, seeking entry of women of all ages into the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa.
He also equated the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) five-day march from Pandalam to Thiruvananthapuram on the issue with the "rath yatra" organised by the BJP to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
Mr Surendran's statement came amid mounting protests in Kerala against the government's alleged hasty move to implement the top court order, allowing the entry of women of all age-groups into Sabarimala.
In Thiruvananthapuram, a march by the Yuva Morcha activists to the residence of Mr Surendran turned violent today, leading to the police using water cannons and tear-gas shells to disperse the crowd.
The trouble started when the activists tried to break the barricades put up by the police a few metres from the minister's house.
Slamming the BJP's "Save Sabarimala Yatra", which commenced yesterday, Mr Surendran, a CPI(M) leader, said, "The long march reminds us of the old rath yatra of the BJP."
"Hardcore RSS leaders had approached the Supreme Court 12 years ago, seeking entry of women of all age-groups into Sabarimala," the minister claimed and alleged that the Sangh Parivar was trying to gain political advantage by misleading people.
He also urged the protesters to be calm till the Supreme Court took a decision on the review petitions filed by various organisations.
Certain modes of agitation like putting up roadblocks was against the wishes of Lord Ayyappa, the minister said.
Rallies, marches and roadblocks marked the protests staged by Hindu outfits Wednesday against the Left Democratic Front-led Kerala government's decision to implement the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala.
State BJP president P S Sreedharan Pillai has accused the LDF government of trying to divide the Hindus to "defeat" the movement of the Lord Ayyappa devotees against its decision to hurriedly implement the Supreme Court order.
The Congress, the BJP, besides various Hindu organisations, have launched protests, demanding that the state government file a review petition against the verdict.
But the Left government has maintained that it will not go in for a review of the ruling.
The Supreme Court, in its verdict on September 28, had allowed the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala shrine.
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