Cong high command climbs down, favours Central law to uphold Sabarimala traditions


The Congress in Kerala which has been struggling to get out of the image of 'playing second fiddle’ to the BJP in the Sabarimala young women entry issue can now heave a sigh of relief with its central leadership slowly acknowledging the regional stand.

The high command, which had earlier taken a pro-woman stand on the issue and favoured non-discrimination against women, had reportedly directed the local leadership to confine the agitation to the State. Congress president Rahul Gandhi and senior leader Sonia Gandhi had also taken a pro-woman stand when the state party leadership took a stand against women entry to appease a large section of Hindus and Sabarimala devotees.

However, on Sunday, the high command accused the BJP of fomenting violence in Kerala over the Sabarimala issue and felt the BJP-led Central Government should bring a law that upholds the traditions and customs of the temple which forbids women in the child-bearing age to visit the shrine.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Centre failed to maintain law and order in the State and demanded a suitable law to uphold the traditions of the devotees.

"We believe that law and Constitution is supreme, but, belief and tradition of people, particularly the people of Kerala, have to be married in congeniality with the existing law and the Constitution," he told media persons in Delhi on Sunday, giving a fillip to the Congress leaders in Kerala who were in a fix over a contradictory stand taken by the central leadership.

He pointed out that Congress leader KC Venugopal, MP, had recently moved an adjournment motion in Lok Sabha demanding such legislation. Surjewala wanted such a legislation to be brought and debated so that rights of women are protected even as traditions and rituals associated with the temple are safeguarded. This would not only put a check on violence but also help to have a peaceful solution to this vexed issue.

He accused the BJP and the CPM in Kerala of creating an “endless cycle of violence” on the Sabarimala matter. UNI