New Delhi:

The RSS has called for a review of the Supreme Court’s recent verdict allowing entry of women of 10 to 50 years of age into the Sabarimala Temple in “defiance of the traditions” followed by the legendary shrine.

In the Sangh’s first response to the verdict, its general secretary Suresh (Bhaiyyaji) Joshi said while the SC’s order needed to be honoured, the temple’s tradition and popular sentiments cannot be overlooked. “In the case of Sabarimala Devasthanam also, it is an issue of a local temple tradition and faith to which sentiments of millions of devotees, including women, are attached. These sentiments of devotees cannot be ignored,” said Joshi who is number two in the Sangh hierarchy. His statement comes against the backdrop of gathering protests in Kerala.

Joshi criticised the Kerala government for moving to implement the SC verdict and expressed support for those, particularly women, who have taken to streets in parts of the state to protest the verdict. “Unfortunately, the Kerala government has taken steps to implement the judgement with immediate effect without taking the sentiments of devotees into consideration. There is an obvious reaction to the same by the devotees, especially women, who are protesting against the forceful breaking of the tradition,” he said.

“While the SC judgement should be respected, RSS calls upon all stakeholders, including spiritual and community leaders to come together to address the issue, availing judicial options also. They must convey their concerns on the right of worship in a manner which best suits their faith and devotion, to the authorities in a peaceful manner,” said the RSS leader.

He suggested that a “judicial option” be considered in the matter so that “sentiments of devotees” are not overlooked.