Spearheading a campaign against the Kerala government over the Sabarimala issue, BJP state unit chief PS Sreedharan Pillai Sunday alleged that the CPI(M)-led dispensation was making the Lord Ayyappa shrine "a centre of dispute to destroy its uniqueness".
Condemning the police action against "peacefully agitating" devotees, he said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will extend all possible assistance to the protesters to protect the hill shrine from the "hidden agenda of atheists".
Mr Pillai said the BJP and Sangh Parivar will expand the ongoing agitation against the state government's "hasty move" to implement the Supreme Court verdict, permitting entry of women of all age groups into the temple, to other parts of the country.
"What is going in Kerala (over Sabarimala) is a fight between devotees and atheists," he told PTI.
"BJP workers will continue to join the devotees' protest if any woman in the menstrual age group tries to enter the temple. The devotees have so far succeeded in preventing such women from breaking the custom," he said.
The Kerala BJP unit chief said the government did not permit the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which administers the shrine, to file a review petition against the top court's September 28 order.
"It was the Hindu faithful who launched an agitation against the state government. They all hit the streets against the government's move to destroy the unique nature of the temple and Lord Ayyappa faith in the name of the Supreme Court verdict. We just extended our support to them," he said.
Mr Pillai said the BJP will continue to support the devotees' demand that the centuries-old custom of the hill shrine be protected.
"Sabarimala is not an ordinary temple. It is unique. Over five crore devotees visit the shrine annually. But the CPI(M) wanted to make it an ordinary temple by destroying its centuries-old custom," he said.
Mr Pillai, who is also an advocate practising in the Kerala High Court, alleged that the CPI(M) had always been trying to "destroy" the Sabarimala temple.
"They want to destroy Sabarimala. But they will never succeed," he asserted.
Criticising the heavy police deployment at the 'Sannidhanam' (temple complex), the BJP leader said it was done without setting up basic facilities like building toilets and ensuring drinking water for crores of devotees, who will be visiting the shrine during the two-month long 'Mandala-Makaravilakku' season.
The pilgrimage season began Saturday.
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