Now, Sangh outfits allege conspiracy in state govt decision to open temples

Now, Sangh outfits allege conspiracy in state govt decision to open temples
The Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple. File photo: Manorama

For the Kerala government, once mauled for backing women's entry into Sabarimala, the opening of places of worship is a classic case of 'heads they win, tails we lose'.

After the Centre decided to open places of worship to devotees, it looked like the State Government had no choice. There was a realisation that any sign of hesitation could be politically counterproductive.

And by then, after the liquor ban was removed, various religious bodies and their heads - Cardinal George Alencherry of the Syro-Malabar Church, the All India Imam Council, Samastha Kerala Sunni Federation and Travancore Devaswom Board - had also been publicly urging the government to open places of worship.

Now when the places of worship are about to open, that too with more restrictions than even the Centre had insisted, the Pinarayi Vijayan government has found itself on the devil's side.

Sangh Parivar organisations have been the first to point their accusing fingers. Hindu Aikya Vedi sees a conspiracy in the government's move to open temples. Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Kshethra Samrakshana Samithi (KSS) have declared that temples under their control would remain shut. The KSS wants the government to call off the decision.

The Akhila Kerala Thantri Samajam, an influential body of Hindu priests, has also written to the Chief Minister telling him there was no need for any immediate relaxation.

Hindu Aikya Vedi's R V Babu said Hindu religious heads or representative bodies had no role in the government decision to open temples. "This is nothing but an attempt to save the devaswom boards," Babu said.

According to him, the general opinion in the Hindu community is that it was inappropriate to open temples in such a situation. Babu welcomed the decision of the VHP and the KSS to keep shut temples under their control.

"Private temples that witness huge crowds, too, should decide against opening," Babu said. Nonetheless, Babu stopped short of demanding that Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple and Sabarimala, both of which are under government-controlled devaswoms, should not be re-opened. Both these temples are set to open on June 14.

In fact, all the 1000-odd temples under Travancore Devaswom Board will open on June 9.

Babu said COVID-19 infection from a temple could lead to the shutting down of the temple.

Irony is, it were senior BJP leaders like P P Mukundan who had questioned the restrictions imposed on the conduct of the annual Kottiyoor Vysakha Mahotsavam this month. Mukundan had called the restrictions "deplorable" and a "betrayal of the faithful".

The Sangh Parivar's objection to the opening of the places of worship has come close on he heels of certain Muslim and Christian denominations refusing to open mosques and churches under them for at least a month.

Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran called the new stand of Hindu organisations a 'volte face' and said the government was only happy to keep places of worship closed when the virus spread was getting dangerous.

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