THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Monday has come down heavily on BJP State president Kummanam Rajasekharan’s remark over non-Hindu vendors at temple premises. Chandy said Kummanam’s statements would create division among the people.
“If there are practical issues about vendors from other religions operating near places of worship that would be examined,” Chandy added.
Kummanam stated that temple committees could decide on letting vendors from other religions operate at temple premises. “BJP should not forget Kerala’s secular history and tradition. Kerala has a tradition of people from all religions peacefully co-existing. It was the Christian and Muslim families who used to bring certain offerings like jaggery to temples in Travancore and Malabar. Even now, many temples follow these traditions. People from other religions are part of many temple committees,” Chandy said, referring to Ayyappa devotees visiting the Mosque of Vavar and the Arthunkal Church.
“In Kerala, everyone attend the temple and church festival. People like Kummanam are attempting to destroy such sacred traditions and culture,” said Chandy.
Chandy further pointed out that communal riots rarely happen in Kerala. “We could peacefully handle incidents like the Nilakkal issue which everyone thought would go out of hand. An ability for mutual co-operation and tolerance is what our ancestors had given us. Everyone has the responsibility to maintain it,” he said.
“Kerala had expected a more mature approach from the BJP leadership. The State would reject those who attempt to sow the seeds of hatred in Kerala’s secular mind,” Chandy added.
Meanwhile, Pinarayi Vijayan, the CPM politburo member, termed Kummanam’s statement as a part of the Hindutva agenda. “Kummanam’s statement that temple committees can decided on evicting vendors from other religions from temple premises is a hardcore Hindutva agenda. It is part of the RSS move to create communal tension in the State,” he said.
“Kerala is a State where people from all religions stay and work near places of worships without caste and religious concerns. Any attempt to prevent such co-existence is violation of the fundamental rights,” said Pinarayi.