Sabarimala temple issue: RSS calls upon all stakeholders to come together; says devotees’ sentiments cannot be ignored

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Noting that devotees sentiments cannot be ignored while considering the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of women into the Sabarimala temple, the RSS on Wednesday called upon all stakeholders to come together and address the issue availing judicial options also. The judgement of the Supreme Court should be honoured, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) maintained. The recent judgement on Sabarimala Devasthanam has evoked reactions all over the country. While we all respect the varied temple traditions followed by devotees in Bharat, we have to also honour the honourable Supreme Court, RSS General Secretary Suresh Bhayyaji Joshi said in a statement. On September 28, the apex court threw open the doors of Sabarimala temple in Kerala to girls and women of all age groups by lifting the ban on the entry of those between the age of 10 and 50, holding this centuries-old Hindu religious practice is illegal and unconstitutional. While the Supreme Court judgement should be respected, RSS calls upon all the stakeholders, including spiritual and community leaders, to come together to analyse and address the issue availing judicial options also, the RSS said. Emphasising that it is an issue of a local temple tradition and faith to which sentiments of millions of devotees, including women, are attached, the RSS underlined that these sentiments of the devotees cannot be ignored while considering the judgement. There is an obvious reaction to the same by the devotees, especially women, who are protesting against the forceful breaking of the tradition, Joshi said. The RSS, which has wide presence in the Left-ruled Kerala and has been at loggerheads with the ruling CPI(M), termed the state governments decision to implement the apex courts order with immediate effect as unfortunate. Unfortunately, the Kerala Government has taken steps to implement the judgement with immediate effect without taking the sentiments of the devotees into consideration, Joshi said. Joshi also suggested that all stakeholders and devotees must convey their concerns on their right to worship in a manner which best suits their faith and devotion, to the authorities in a peaceful manner. Sabarimala is a prominent Hindu temple located at Pathanamthitta district in Kerala. It attracts tens of millions of pilgrims every year. The hill-top ancient temple of Lord Ayyappan remains open only for a little over four months in a year and the approach is through a forested area that involves an arduous five-km trek from the Pampa river base camp. The Ayyappa Dharma Sena president had said the organisation would file a review petition against the judgement. Until October 16, the Sabarimala temple is closed. So, we have time. The shrines head priest Tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru had said the verdict was disappointing, but the management accepted it.