“The RSS had taken a stand in 2016 that women should have the right of entry to all temples. But this position has been reversed as far as the Sabarimala temple is concerned,” said an editorial in the CPI-M journal “People’s Democracy”.
“RSS General Secretary Suresh Joshi has claimed that restriction of women’s entry to Sabarimala is a matter of tradition and faith of millions of devotees, whose ‘sentiments’ cannot be ignored.
“In Kerala, the RSS chief Gopalankutty stated that the Sangh would honour the judgement but the very next day they made an about-turn,” said the Communist Party of India-Marxist.
The editorial said the protests by “devotees” being organised by the BJP and RSS against the Supreme Court ruling have been joined by the Nair Service Society, the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam who were earlier custodians of the temple and the hereditary family of priests at the temple.
“The stance adopted by these forces of social conservatism could be expected. But what was not anticipated was the hypocritical and opportunist stance adopted by the Congress in Kerala,” said the editorial.
It said that while Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala in New Delhi said the party wholeheartedly welcomed “this progressive and far-reaching decision” of the Supreme Court, the Congress took an opposite stand in Kerala.
“Kerala, thus, presents the curious spectacle of the Congress subscribing to the upper caste and patriarchal notions of the RSS-BJP combine. If the Congress thinks that such an opportunist stance will help it to gain Hindu votes, they are sadly mistaken,” it said.
“Pandering to socially regressive Hindutva views will only strengthen the hands of the BJP and the RSS with the Congress being seen in the company of those who want to turn the clock back in Kerala society.
“The forces who are at the back of the protests by ‘devotees’ are those who are not reconciled to the social changes and progressive reforms in Kerala.”