No hidden agenda: Kerala govt tells HC on row over pilgrimage of two women in Sabarimala temple

The government said the state and its instrumentalities including police had only an "open agenda" in the matter of pilgrimage of two women devotees to Sabarimala on January 2

No hidden agenda: Kerala govt tells HC on row over pilgrimage of two women in Sabarimala temple

Kochi: The Kerala government on Tuesday told the high court there was no "hidden agenda" of the state or police in the "pilgrimage of two women devotees" to Sabarimala on January 2 and alleged that a prominent political party and its supporters were implementing their "political agenda of denying right to women of all age groups to enter" the Lord Ayyappa temple.

The state government stated this in an affidavit filed by it after a division bench of justices P R Ramachandra Menon and N Anil Kumar had on January 8 sought to know whether the two women of reproductive age, who had entered the shrine on January 2, had any "hidden agenda."

The government said the state and its instrumentalities including police had only an "open agenda" in the matter of pilgrimage of two women devotees to Sabarimala on January 2 and it was the implementation of the Supreme Court order permitting entry of women of all age groups into the Lord Ayyappa temple.

The government said the allegations regarding its "hidden agenda" were "perpetrated by right wing elements to perpetuate their political ends and the same is not supported by any cogent reason or bonafide apprehension."

"If the said two women devotees were not permitted to proceed with their pilgrimage to Sabarimala when there was no threat perception to them, the same would have impinged upon the fundamental rights guaranteed to them under Articles 14, 17,2I and 25 of the Constitution of India, (as held by the Supreme Court in the case)," it contended.

The government submitted that a prominent political party and its supporters and right wing elements have a "political agenda" of denying the right of women of all ages to enter Sabarimala temple "by taking recourse to all sorts of illegal methods and criminal acts to prevent the entry of such women into the temple."

It is also practically not possible to ascertain the antecedents and genuineness of all the devotees visiting Sabarimala, the government said.

Violence involving BJP-RSS and the ruling CPI(M) rocked parts of Kerala during the January 3 hartal with several houses and shops of rival leaders and workers being attacked over the entry of two women into the Sabarimala shrine, breaking a centuries-old tradition.