KOTTAYAM: With barely six months left for the Lok Sabha polls, communal equations in Kerala politics are heading for a major realignment after the controversy triggered by the Supreme Court (SC) verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. Nair Service Society (NSS) has wrested control of the Hindu movement in the state by taking the mantle of protests against the LDF Government’s move to implement the SC order.
Though not at the forefront of the agitation, the NSS is behind the ongoing protests under the banner of Namajapa Ghoshayathra, which forced Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to come out with a clarification on the government’s stand on Monday.An unofficial communication was passed through all NSS Karayogams to ensure maximum participation at the protest rallies.
Apart from organising ‘show of strength’ rallies, the NSS has also taken a crucial role in transforming Sabarimala into a burning political issue by bringing the thantri family and the erstwhile Pandalam royal family into its fold.It is learnt that both parties acted as per the NSS leadership’s advice in turning down the Chief Minister’s invite for compromise talks on implementing the SC order.
The three thantris and the royal family representative, Sasikumara Varma, had met NSS general secretary G Sukumaran Nair at the NSS headquarters, before taking the decision not to accept the CM’s invite.
Their withdrawal from the talks at a time when the UDF and the BJP were intensifying their protests over the Sabarimala issue had irked the government, which is the reason for Pinarayi to make a one-hour-long clarification to the media on the matter. Pinarayi also gave an indirect reply to the NSS leadership, highlighting the involvement of NSS founder-leader Mannathu Padmanabhan in progressive movements such as the Vaikom Satyagraha.
However, the NSS is still not happy with the clarification. Speaking to The Sunday Standard, Nair said the government’s stand that it won’t file a review petition in the SC is “unfair”.“The government might have some limitations in filing a review petition. But why isn’t the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which came into existence pledging to protect temple customs and practices, filing a petition? Why isn’t the government allowing the TDB, which is an independent organisation, to file a petition?” he asked.
In response to Pinarayi’s statement on Mannathu Padmanabhan, he said: “It is true that Mannam always fought against discrimination and wrong practices in society. But he was never involved in matters pertaining to the faith, customs and practices of any religion or caste.”Notably, by taking a pro-Hindu stance on issues, such as the controversy around the novel Meesha and women’s entry to Sabarimala temple, the NSS has once again foiled the attempt of Hindutva groups’ plans to drop anchor in state politics.
In review plea, NSS counters CJI’s remarks
Kottayam: Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in the judgment, had observed that “in the absence of scriptural or textual evidence, we can’t agree to the exclusionary practice of Hindu religion.” The Nair Service Society countered it by citing the instances in religious texts. “The restriction based on age of a female isn’t a restriction which amounts to discrimination on the ground ‘only’ of sex,” pointed out the the affidavit filed by the NSS.