Thiruvananthapuram: Head priest of the Sabarimala temple, Kandararu Rajeevaru, has said that he did not seek the opinion of Kerala BJP president Sreedharan Pillai on closing the sanctum sanctorum if women of child-bearing age were to enter the shrine.
The BJP president had made such a claim while addressing a meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) state council, kicking up a huge row. The Travanocre Devaswom Board (TDB), that manages the shrine, had then asked the priest to give an explanation by November 9 (Friday). The priest has, however, rejected the Kerala BJP chief's claims in a written explanation to the board.
In the controversial speech, Pillai said that Sabarimala was a 'golden opportunity' for the BJP. He also added that the others were falling for the 'BJP's agenda'. He was also not hesitant to claim that it was he who guided the tantri (Kandararu Rajeevaru) to issue the threat of shutting down the Sabarimala temple if young women were allowed to enter.
"The tantri had contacted me before declaring that he would shut down the temple if there was a violation of custom. He talked to me at length about closing down the temple. He sounded a lot agitated. His major concern was whether his move would invite contempt of court, whether it would be seen as a violation of the court order. The police apparently had frightened him with such a logic. I told him that a contempt case would not stand. I also assured him that if at all a contempt case came up it would be first slapped against us,” he said in the controversial speech.
Pillai was charged under section 505 (1) (B) of the IPC (intent to incite or which is likely to incite persons to commit any offence), a non-cognizable offence, in connection with his November 4 address.
Sreedharan Pillai moves HC
Meanwhile, Sreedharan Pillai has moved the High Court seeking to quash the FIR registered against him for his speech on the Sabarimala protests.
The first information report was registered in Kozhikode on a complaint by journalist Shybin alleging that Pillai had instigated activists to protest the entry of women of child-bearing age into the hill shrine.
In his petition, Pillai claimed that he had not made any statement with an intention to cause any fear or alarm among any section of the public, so as to induce a person to commit an offence against state or against public tranquility.
Presenting the digital evidence of his speech before the court, Pillai said that he had clearly told the gathering that the protest should be peaceful, not like a 'violent war'. But these aspects were suppressed by the media which published an edited version of his speech, he claimed.
He also claimed that the views expressed by him in an exclusive party function would never attract IPC section 505.
Pillai submitted that he cannot be held liable for media interpretations given to edited portions of his speech telecast by certain media houses with vested interests.
Meanwhile, senior advocate Aryama Sundaram would represent the TDB before the Supreme Court on November 13 when the SC would hear a bunch of pleas, seeking a review of its landmark verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the hill shrine.
Kerala has been on a boil after the state government decided implement the top court verdict. The hill shrine had recently witnessed protests by devotees after some young women, including journalists, attempted to enter the temple.
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