Kerala chief minister Vijayan does not seem to back down on the Sabarimala Temple row even in the backdrop of angry protests, as the state government bulldozed people in the veil of implementing the Supreme Court verdict. Now, Vijayan is making it personal and has targeted the tanthri family. He has been highly critical of Thazhamon family which holds tanthric rights over the Sabarimala Temple. Now it seems that Vijayan has stepped up his verbal attack and taken things to a new low.
The Kerala chief minister went on to say, “Ayyappan is believed by a section of the devotees as a ‘naishtika brahmachari’ (eternal celibate). It’s true, there are beliefs that some deities are celibate. At such temples, mostly in northern India, the priest must also be celibate. That’s the truth. He must not marry. You all know the ‘celibate’ status of our priest here (at Sabarimala). I am not just talking about being occupied with a household. He has crossed that to enter a state of prostitution. Isn’t that what happened at Ernakulam?” It is extremely shameful how Vijayan made such ugly and distasteful remarks about the former priest of the Sabarimala Temple. He uttered this in total disregard of the sentiments of the Hindu community and the already enraged devotees of Bhagwan Ayyapa.
The Kerala chief minister also said that this should not be forgotten even though “we don’t want to discuss it” and the right of the believers to worship at Sabarimala must be protected. Vijayan is said to have been referring to a 2006 incident, when former tanthri of Sabarimala temple was found by a police team along with two women in a flat. The police had alleged that the head priest, Kandaru Mohanaru, had gone there for prostitution. The tanthri was stripped of his rights at the temple and his son and his brother now discharge the responsibilities of a tanthri at the Sabarimala Temple. Later on, Kandaru Mohanaru was discharged by a local court. It is clear that the guilt of the then chief priest was never proved and these allegations are being brought up again, only to tarnish the image of the ex-chief priest.
Kerala chief minister made these distasteful remarks at a meeting in Pathanamthitta, organised to clarify the stance of the ruling LDF government on the subject of women’s entry at the Sabarimala temple. This can be taken as a reinforcement of the stance taken by the Kerala government that it will implement the Supreme Court verdict, with all its might despite the widespread protests by angry devotees against entry of women falling in the age bracket of 10 to 50 years in the shrine. In fact, he clearly reiterated that his administration has no plans of filing a review petition against the Supreme Court which allowed all women including those in the age group of 10 to 50 years to enter the shrine.
Vijayan has taken the debate around the Sabarimala issue to a new low, making distasteful and defamatory remarks against the former priest and that too when he was found innocent by the local court. But his remark spoke volumes about the usual hatred that communists harbor against the Hindus. Even if we were to assume that there was even an iota of Truth in the allegations against the ex-chief priest, that does not, in any way change the celibate status of Bhagwan Ayyapa and the age old tradition of young women celebrating his celibacy by not visiting the shrine. It is not an arbitrary dictum but an age old tradition arising out of Bhagwan Ayyapa’s celibate credentials. Vijayan, however, by targeting the tanthric family has crossed all limits of decency in public discourse, yet again.
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