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Sabarimala: Respect traditions, says Rajini; Kamal evades query

October 20, 2018 21:58 IST

IMAGE: Protesters oppose the entry of women to the Sabarimala Temple on Friday. Photograph: PTI Photo

Actor Rajinikanth on Saturday said there should be no 'interference' in temple traditions being followed for a long time, in his first response to the recent Supreme Court order on entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala and the subsequent protests.

However, Actor-politician Kamal Haasan refused to be drawn into the controversy, saying it won't be proper to seek an opinion from him on the matter.

The Makkal Needhi Maiam founder-president said he would prefer to ‘stay in the centre’ and talk about things benefiting women.

Speaking to reporters in Chennai, Rajinikanth said there was no second opinion on equality for women in every sphere.


"But when you talk about a temple, every temple has its time honoured rituals, besides traditions being followed for a long time. My humble opinion is that no one should interfere in that," Rajinikanth said.

Noting that the top court verdict should be 'respected', the 67-year-old actor however, indicated that caution should be exercised when it came to matters of religion and related rituals.

Haasan, a self-declared rationalist, said he has never been to Sabarimala though he had visited other temples.

"It won't be proper to seek an opinion from me on this matter. I will stay in the centre and say about things good for women. I don't understand the (Ayyappa) devotees' stand. So it is better not to interfere in that," he told reporters.

When asked about the Supreme Court verdict not being ‘respected’ by Kerala in this case or by Karnataka in the Cauvery water dispute with Tamil Nadu, Haasan shot back saying ‘one can't say Kerala (government) is not respecting’ the judgment.

"It is a different thing if people don't respect it," he said in an apparent reference to the stiff resistance and protests by Ayyappa devotees at Sabarimala to the entry of women into the shrine.

"In Karntaka, the government is not respecting and in this case people are not respecting. There is a difference between the two," he added.

Kerala has been witnessing protests against the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into Sabarimala temple since the government had said it would abide by the ruling of the apex court.

The agitation intensified since the shrine was opened for the five-day monthly pooja on October 17.

On September 28, a five-judge Constitution bench of the SC, headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine.

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