'These atheist people wanted to finish the progress of Sabrimala temple devotees and now they are using this (the Supreme Court verdict) as a weapon to destroy the believers.'
Since the Supreme Court's historic judgment allowing women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple, Kerala has been witnessing a series of agitations by various devotee groups and Hindu outfits against the verdict.
Holding placards bearing pictures of Lord Ayyappa and chanting his hymns, the faithful, a large number of them women, have been demanding that the sanctity of the temple rituals be protected and women of menstrual age must be kept out.
As the temple complex opens on Thursday, October 18, for the monthly rituals, the Bharatiya Janata Party's Kerala's president P S Sreedharan Pillai tells Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf, "The Sabrimala pilgrimage is bigger than Mecca, and Kashi too, as five crore (50 million) people come every year. These Marxist people tried their level best to destroy it."
The BJP protest march on Monday to the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram turned out to be very big.
Yes, and now the CPI-M government of Kerala has changed its attitude because this is the largest gathering ever seen in Kerala.
Our march is largest in the history of the state.
People have decided to have their own faith and beliefs, so why is this atheist government opposing it?
We are only supporting the believers.
Why are you opposing the Supreme Court judgment?
The judgment is there, but then, there is a review petition too which is pending.
These atheist people since the last 50 years wanted to finish the progress of Sabrimala temple devotees and now they are using this (the verdict) as a weapon to destroy the believers.
We are only supporting the believers. That's all.
Women of all ages can enter the Sabrimala temple from Thursday. Will you stop them?
Let that be decided by the believers.
We have not started the agitation, 50,000 women started this agitation.
We are only supporting them.
Were you surprised to see such a large number of women participate in your rally?
That is faith.
Communists don't understand it. Communists want to finish the faith.
Sabrimala is the largest pilgrimage centre in the world.
The Sabrimala pilgrimage is bigger than Mecca, and Kashi too, as five crore (50 million) people come every year.
These Marxist people tried their level best to destroy it.
We are only supporting the people.
Beyond our expectations people are coming out and supporting us.
What is the BJP's stand on the Supreme Court verdict?
I told you that the BJP is standing along with believers.
Believers are fighting for their fundamental rights.
This is a peculiar kind of temple where the deity is Brahmachari, a celibate.
This is the only temple where such a custom exists.
Why was this fact not placed before the Supreme Court of India?
Here worshipping in the temple is not like in North India.
In North India, you can touch the idol, but not here.
Therefore, 90 per cent of Kerala's Hindu women are not supporting the Supreme Court judgment.
They are not even supporting the (state) government's view.
That is why the CPI-M was forced to conduct house level meetings on this issue to convince them.
But the people were not interested.
What, in your view, should the Kerala government have done after the Supreme Court verdict?
The appeals are pending now.
Let the final outcome come.
Isn't the judgment final?
The attorney general of India has taken up this matter.
Women have come out openly to oppose the verdict.
Only 250 women came for the CPI-M rally.
Malayala Manorama (the largest circulated newspaper in Kerala) interviewed those women and even in those interviews women said that they stand for Sabrimala Ayyappa and not with the CPI-M.
This is the reality.
Now the CPI-M is repenting. So let them suffer.
It looks like you are trying to score political points over the issue.
No. We didn't start this.
The Congress party started the agitation and later on withdrew Why?
Because, the CPI-M and the Congress don't care for the interests of believers.
Throughout the world, believers are opposing the judgment. In the USA, Germany, Delhi and everywhere.
You cannot play with the beliefs of people.
The CPI-M is now facing an embarrassing situation.