After Kerala Chief Minister, Senior CPI(M) leader and PWD Minister, G Sudhakaran has launched a vicious verbal attack on the Sabarimala temple’s Tantri (chief priest) for performing the religious ritual, Shuddhi kalasham. The minister called the Tantri a “Brahmin monster" and asked him to step down, reports Indian Express.
The ceremony was performed after two women in the child-bearing age group, supported by ruling communist party, stealthily entered the shrine close to 3.45 am. The event led to state-wide protests and arrest of more than 1700 people. Given the state high-handedness, senior Congress leader, Shashi Tharoor, along with other Kerala Congress members also came out in support of devotees.
Two women, Kanakadurga and Bindu, in their 40s had entered the shrine and offered prayers on 2 January. Following this, the Tantri, Kandaru Rajeevaru, closed the sanctum sanctorum to perform Suddhi Kalasham.
While on one hand the minister criticised the Tantri for performing the ‘Shuddhi’ ceremony, on the other hand, he questioned the priest’s ‘Shuddhi’ (purity). “Tantri is not a ‘Shuddha Brahmin’. He does not have any love, respect towards Lord Ayyappa,” the minister alleged.
The minister asked that "If a man who treated a sister as impure can he be considered human." Critics have pointed out that Communist government’s cry of gender equality over the issue is not just myopic but also an eyewash. Writer and social activist, Sarah Joseph had shunned the ‘women wall’ organised by Kerala CPM as its own member, PK Sasi, despite being accused of sexual harassment by a woman worker of the youth wing, didn’t face expulsion.
Scholars have pointed out that despite being a more developed state, Kerala sees a poorer female labour force participation. The presence of women in governance roles is very low in Kerala. The number of female legislators in Kerala is even behind that of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. Critics point out that these more urgent issues of gender equality are not given attention while Sabarimala is being used to polarise Kerala electorate.
“The tantri is a symbol of caste devil. He is not a Brahmin. He is a Brahmin monster. If a Brahmin becomes a monster, he will be a terror,” Sudhakaran was quoted as saying.
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