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An ashram in Kerala, founded by a preacher who supported the Supreme Court verdict allowing the entry of women of menstruating age to Sabarimala temple, was attacked by unidentified persons yesterday. Two cars and a scooter belonging to Swami Sandeepananda Giri’s School of Bhagavad Gita on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram were set on fire at around 2:30 am. The attackers also put a wreath in front of the hermitage. Swami Sandeepananda Giri said he suspects Sangh Parivar elements are behind the attack.

The attack on the ashram comes amid a massive crackdown on protesters who prevented women from entering the Sabarimala temple after it opened for five days this month during which violence and protests around the hill shrine were witnessed. Over 2,800 people from across the state have been arrested and 495 cases have been registered.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Saturday warned that his party’s workers will uproot the Left Democratic Front government in Kerala if it continues to arrest Ayyappa devotees who protested in the state against women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple. Shah asked courts to issue “practical instructions to governments”. Shah was addressing a gathering at an inauguration ceremony of a new district committee office in Kannur. “We [the BJP] will uproot this government if it continues arresting people who protested the Supreme Court verdict [on women’s entry into the Sabarimala],” Shah said.

Kerala Chief Minister condemned Amit Shah’s statement in a Facebook post:

The remarks of BJP President Amit Shah in Kannur are an attack on Supreme Court, Indian Constitution and our judicial system. BJP president’s assertion that courts must only pronounce verdicts which could be carried out conveys the message that fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution are not meant to be implemented. These statements of Shah also reveal the true colour of RSS and Sangh Parivar.

His argument that gender equality must not be implemented through temple entry laws is a precursor to the argument that caste based discrimination must not be abolished by law. His ramblings also reveal their indebtedness to the obsolete views of gender inequality propounded by Manusmriti. The civil society, which upholds fundamental rights including gender equality, must rise up against these uncivilized ideologies.

Amit Shah, who threatened to oust the LDF Government, must remember that this Government did not come to power at the mercy of BJP but with the support of the people of this state. It must also be noted that the BJP leader dared to threaten a democratically elected Government because of it stood by Supreme Court verdict and its commitment to protect fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

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