Kochi : Rahul Eashwar at a press conference here, his first since release from police custody, said there were at least 20 persons in waiting, to self-inflict wounds and ‘pollute’ Sabarimala temple, if women from ‘barred’ age were to enter its premises. Blood spilled such would force shutting the shrine, he said adding that, like the govt, protesters too need a Plan B.
Tradition has it that, if the sanctum is polluted by blood or urine, the shrine has to shut immediately for purification rituals.
Rahul proceeded to reveal how the Plan B group will be positioned inside the temple, on its open again on 7 Nov.
It is however unclear why, a weary looking Rahul revealed the strategy, apparently kept under wraps by protesters so far.
Referring to govt remark that tantri(temple priest) is not the owner of the temple, Rahul said neither is the govt or Devaswom Board, and added that, the shrine belongs to Lord Ayyappa.
In the wake of review petition submitted against SC verdict, only devotees should be allowed at the temple, he said.
Speculating worst case scenario, Rahul added that, should the next verdict run against the tradition, devotees will continue protest to preserve age-old practice.
Rahul was arrested in abduction style by police on 20 October as protests over young women visiting the shrine got out of hand, creating a riotous situation in Sabaimala.
The Verdict and Aftermath
A group of five women challenged Kerala state rule that bars entry of women between ages 10 – 50 at the famed Sabarimala Temple. The petitioners argued that the rule violates fundamental right to equality and discriminates women. The Kerala High Court previously upheld the restriction on entry of women and the case came before Supreme Court in 2006.
On 29 Sep, Supreme Court ended the age-old ban holding that, devotion cannot be subjected to discrimination and patriarchal notion cannot be allowed to trump equality in devotion.
For centuries, women of menstrual age were restricted from entering the temple as its presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is considered celibate.
The state has been witnessing massive rallies against the Supreme Court verdict, putting pressure on the hesitant ruling Left to file a review petition or bring in an ordinance.
On all 5 days the temple opened for monthly pooja in October, protesters thwarted attempts by young women to access the ancient shrine.