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To

Shri Pinarayi Vijayan Chief Minister of Kerala

CC To:

President of India, Chief Justice of India, Governor of Kerala

Over 200 women’s activists, dalit activists, adivasi activists, human rights groups, social organisations, cultural personalities and well known citizens demand the dismissal of the priests in Sabarimala over violation of constitutional rights and return the shrine to adivasis.

Sir,

Adv. Bindu and Kanakadurga made history on January 2, 2019 by entering the Sabarimala temple , a right accorded to them, by the historic Supreme Court verdict given on 28 September 2018. This day will also go down as a dark day in the history of India when the Tantris and Melshanthi (headpriest) of the Sabarimala temple conducted a ‘purifying puja’.

In the historic judgment Justice D.Y Chandrachud observed that the practice to ban entry to women between the ages of ten and fifty at the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala is “a form of untouchability”. He observed “Religion cannot be cover to deny women the right to worship……To treat women as children of a lesser God is to blink at constitutional morality.” Justice Chandrachud also said that “exclusion of women is a violation of right to liberty, dignity and equality….. Exclusion of women because she menstruates is utterly unconstitutional.”

Article 17 of Constitution of India says that “Untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of Untouchability shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.” Article 17 of Constitution of India is the only Absolute right of the Indian constitution. The purification ceremony carried out by the Tantri in Sabarimala is a clearly criminal act as it stands in violation of Article 17, which confers an absolute right to all Indian citizens against the practice of untouchability, without exceptions or relaxations. No Indian citizen as per the Indian Constitution can be declared impure' oruntouchable’.’ It is clear that the purification ceremony performed at Sabarimala is unconstitutional and violates the Supreme Court judgment. Therefore we demand that the Tantris and Melashanthi of Sabarimala should be dismissed from their position and must be prosecuted as their action is against constitutional morality

Since this purification ceremony happened according to the values of Brahmanical patriarchy, we also demand that the Brahmin Tantris should be debarred from their hereditary rights over Sabarimala temple and the worship rights at Sabarimala be given back to Adivasis who were the customary custodians of Sabarimala until the Brahmins took control of the Sabarimala temple in the early 20th Century. We also demand that the Tantri status should be abolished and the Melshanthi should be reinstated to the Adivasis.

We appeal to make necessary steps to enforce community rights, resource rights and facilitate environmental protection of the forests around Sabarimala as well as Pampa river as per the Forest Rights Act.

Signatories:

  1. Swami Agnivesh, Swami Agnivesh ,AryaSamaj Leader , Chairperson, Bonded labour Liberation Front .
  2. Medha Patkar, NBA, NAPM
  3. Kancha Ilaiah, Writer, Academic, Dalit Activist
  4. TeestaSetalvad, Writer, Human Rights Activist
  5. Aruna Roy, MKSS
  6. Anand Patwardhan, Film Maker
  7. Ram Puniyani. Writer, Retd. Professor, IIT
  8. Satchidanandan, Writer, Poet, Former Secretary of SahityaAkademi
  9. Sandeep Pandey, Former Visiting Professor, IIT, Social Activist
  10. Harsh Mander
  11. S. Parasuraman, Former Director, TISS
  12. Tirumurugan Gandhi, May 17 Movement, Tamil Nadu
  13. Lubnasarwath, General secretary, Socialist party( India), Telangana, Hyderabad
  14. Guru Moorthy,  Socialist Party(India)- Bangalore
  15. Radhika, independent legal researcher
  16. Henri ,Executive Director, People’s Watch
  17. Manohar, Human Rights Defenders Alert India
  18. Denzil Fernandes, Indian Social Institute, New Delhi
  19. Abdul Mabood, Director, SNEHI -Healthy Minds. A Healthy India, New Delhi
  20. Apoorvanand, Delhi University
  21. Nivedita Menon, JNU
  22. Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist, New Delhi
  23. Jolly Chirayath, Actress, Activist
  24. ArchanaPadmini- curator, actress
  25. Vidhu Vincent -filmmaker
  26. Sruthi Namboothiri- filmmaker
  27. Muktha Deedi Chand-filmmaker
  28. Sajitha Madathil-actress
  29. Deedi Damodaran-script writer,filmmaker
  30. Jeevakj- filmmaker
  31. Asha Achy Joseph- filmmaker
  32. Shiny T Rajan- actress
  33. Miriam –
  34. Sudha KF-filmmaker
  35. Radhika Padmakumar- cameraperson
  36. Revathy Sampath- actress
  37. KaniKusruti-actress
  38. Divya Gopinath-actress
  39. Kavita Srivastava, PUCL
  40. VidyaDinker, INSAF, Karnataka
  41. Brinda Adige, Activist
  42. Kritika A, Activist, Mediaperson
  43. Mercy Kappen, Director, Visthar
  44. Kamayanibalimahabal, feminist and human rights activist
  45. Gerda Unnithan
  46. Elizabeth Philip, Women’s Activist.
  47. Tara Murali, Chennai.
  48. Nafisa D’Souza
  49. Indira Pancholi, MahilaJandhikarSamiti
  50. Karuna Philip, MahilaJandhikarSamiti
  51. Bhanwari Bai, MahilaJandhikarSamiti
  52. Sister Carol Geeta, SaswikaSanghathan, Ajmer
  53. Anuradha Marwah, Ajmer Adult Education Association
  54. Lata Kanchawaha, SURE
  55. Tara Ahluwalia, MahilaEvamBalChetnaSamiti
  56. Nisha Chauhan
  57. Chaya Pachauli
  58. Madhulika, PUCL
  59. Maya Pandit
  60. InduPrakash Singh
  61. Ganga Gupta
  62. Kalpana Kannabiran, Professor & Director, Council for Social Development, Hyderabad
  63. Mridula Bajaj, Development Consultant
  64. Anila George, Advocate, Ernakulam
  65. V.S. Roy David-National Adivasi Alliance (NAA) Convener
  66. J.P.Raju- President BudakattuKrishikaraSanghaKodagu District
  67. K.N.Vittala President BudakattuKrishkaraSanghaChickmagalore District
  68. Venkataswamy President BudakattuKrishikaraSanghaPeriyapatna Mysore.
  69. National AdivasiAndolana(NAA)
  70. Rajya Moola Adivasi Vedike
  71. Budakattu Krishikara Sangha Kodagu
  72. Budakattu Krishikara Sangha Mysore,
  73. Budakkatu Krishikara Sangha Periyapatna Taluk Mysore
  74. Budakattu Krishikara Sangha Chickmagalore
  75. Rajya Soliga Abhivruddi Sangha
  76. Hassan JillaAdivasi Hasalara Sangha
  77. Iruliga Kshemabhivruddi Sangha(IAKS)
  78. Betta kurubara Paramparika Sangha.
  79. Adivasi Yuvajana Vikasana Samithi (AYVS),Wayanad
  80. Asangatitha Vanitha Thozhilali Union (AVTU)Wayanad
  81. Forum of Deserted Wives-STHREEJWALA,Wayanad
  82. BODI AND AGAMALAI ADIVASI PALIYAR FEDERATION (BAAPF)
  83. Renganathan State convenor Tribal associations for Fifth Schedule campaign TN
  84. Gunasekaran General Secretary TamilagaadivasiammippugalinKuttammaippu TN
  85. Thangaraj State honorary president ST peoples munetranalasangam  Kollihills.
  86. Venkadesan State President TN palangudivivasayegalsangamJawdhu hills
  87. Shivashanthakumar Humane Trust KodaikanalTamilnadu
  88. Shiva Shankar, Chennai Mathematical Institute.
  89. Mohan and S.Devika, Advocates, Chennai
  90. Andrew Sesuraj. M, Dept of Social Work, Loyola College,Chennai
  91. Ravi Nitesh, Engineer, Social Activist, Member- Civicus International
  92. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil. Indian Institute of Management, Trichy.
  93. Sandeep Pattnaik, Researcher
  94. Lalit Vachani, Film Maker
  95. Harish Chandra IAS, Bharat Jan GyanVigyanSamiti
  96. Jai Sen, Researcher, Editor, New Delhi
  97. Bharti Ali, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights.
  98. Kumar Shailabh, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights.
  99. Enakshi Ganguly, Founder, Adviser, HAQ Centre for Child Rights, New Delhi
  100. R.Chandramohan, Devakottai
  101. Dr Walter Fernandes, Senior Fellow, North Eastern Social Research Centre
  102. Andrew Sesuraj. M, Dept of Social Work, Loyola College, Chennai
  103. Ramkiran, SWRC, Tilonia
    104.Noratia, SWRC, Tilonia
    105.Arvind, Urmul Network
    106.Narendra Gupta, Prayas
  1. Irfan Engineer, All India Secular Forum

108.Wilfred D’Costa, INSAF

109.Dr. Cameron Ahmad, Brampton ON, Canada

110.S Karthikeyan, Santa Clara, California , USA, Convener Ambedkar King Study Circle, California , USA.

111.Anjali Monteirro, TISS, Mumbai

112.Madhumita Dutta, Researcher

113.Natasha Khan, Advocate, Chattisgarh

114.Shiva Shantakumar

115.D.N. Reddy, Hyderabad

116.Prashant Paikray, Anti-POSCO Movement, Odisha

117.E.P. Menon

118.Magline, President, Theeradesa Vanitha Federation

119.Hamida, Secretary, Theeradesa Vanitha Federation

120.Dr. Anand Teltumbde, civil rights activist with CPDR, Maharashtra

121.Madhu Bhaduri, Ambassador of India (Retd)

122.Gabrielle Dietrich, NAPM

123.Stan Swamy, Jharkhand

124.Society for integrated development of tribals[SIDT] Kodaikanal.

125.Yemuna Sunny, Ekalavya, Madhya Pradesh

126.Yogesh Diwan, Social Activist, Madhya Pradesh

127.Biju Negi, BeejBachaoAndolan, Uttarakhand

128.Asit Das, Researcher, Delhi

  1. Arjun, PDFI, Delhi
  2. Dr.George Mathew, Chairman, Institute of Social Sciences
  3. Walter Fernandes, Writer, Researcher

132.PradeepEsteves, Context India, Bengaluru

  1. Chand Peer, Indian Social Institute, Bangalore

134.Kiran Kamal Prasad, JEEVIKA – JeetaVimukti Karnataka.

135.K.P. Jayashankar, TISS, Mumbai

136.Aloysius s.j., Social Researcher, IDEAS, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

137.Dr. Prof. Saradakkuty, Writer, Women activist

138.Prasad Chacko, Social worker, Ahmedabad

139.Sandeep Pattnaik, Researcher

140.Vira Sathidar, Actor and Writer

141.Aurobindo Ghose, Advocate, Human Rights Activist, Peoples’ Rights

Organization (PRO)

142.Arun Khote, PMARC

143.Amit Bhaduri

144.Prafulla Samantra, Lok Shakti Abhiyan

145.Dr. N. Bhattacharya, Former Employee of Delhi University.

146.Rajendran Samiappen

147.Neeraj Jain

148.Anita Cheria, Open Space, Bangalore

149Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar, Theologian, Peace-Justice Activist

150.Ambassador K.P Fabian (Retd)

151.GeetaSeshu, Independent Journalist and co-founder, Free Speech Collective

152.Priti Gulati Cox, Artist

153.Ananya Gaur, Singer, Musician.

154.Anvar Ali, Poet

  1. Lata Singh, PUCL

156.Shabnam Aziz, PUCL

157.Harsh Kapoor, independent researcher

158.William Stanley, Social Activist

159.Subendu Dasgupta

  1. Atindriyo Chakraborty, Advocate and Researcher, Kolkata
  2. Dr. Y. SrinivasaRao, Assistant Professor

162.Dr. Prem Singh, Dept. of Hindi, University of Delhi

  1. Tridib reeves

164.PushpaAchanta, Agriculturist

165.SubhashMendhapurkar

166.ShobhaAggarwal, Adovocate and member, PIL Watch Group

167.Dr. P. S. Sahni, Member, Aids BhedbhavVirodhiAndolan

168.Dr Koshy AV, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Jazan

University,Saudi Arabia

169.Tushar Kamble, Instrumentation Engineer

170.Nidhin Sowjanya, IT Professonal, Bangalore

171.Kuldip Chand, Punjab

172.Kabir Deb, Author and Poet

  1. Ajay TG, Film Maker

174.Dr. Goldy M George, Founder, Dalit MuktiMorcha, Chhattisgarh

175.Leo Saldhana, Environmental Support Group

176.Binu Mathew, Editor, Counter Currents

  1. SatyaSagar, Writer, Public Health Activist

178.Fr. Cedric Prakash, Human Rights Activist

179.Cynthia Stephen, Independent Researcher and Policy analyst; Founder, DAWNS

180.Dinanath Keshav Manohar

181.Ganshyam Shah

182.Valson Thampu

  1. Arun Kumar, Malcom S. Adiseshiah Chair Professor, Indian Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi.

184.Hiren Gandhi, Darshan Organisation, Gujarat

185.Dr. Saroop Dhruv

186.Dr. Renuka Pamecha, Women’s Rehabilitation Group

187.Dr. Pawan Surana, Rajasthan University Women’s Association

188.Dr. Laad Kumari Jain, Rajasthan University Women’s Association

189.Dr. Asha Kaushik, Rajasthan University Women’s Association

190.Nisha Sidhu, National Federation Indian Women

191.Bharat, Vishakha, Women’s Research

192.Janasadhana, Odisha

193.Prem Krishan Sharma, PUCL/ Academi for Socio Legal Studies

  1. Kailash Kumbhakar, Academi for Socio Legal Studies
  2. Nishat Hussein, National Women’s Welfare Society
  3. Komal Srivastava, Bharat VigyanSamiti
  4. Mamta Jaitley, Vividha
  5. Sumitra Chopra, AIDWA
  6. KusumSaiwal, AIDWA
  7. Rakhi, CFAR
  8. Vijay Lakshmi Joshi, PUCL
  9. Y. SrinivasaRao
  10. Malti Gupta, RUWA, NFIW
  11. Suman Devathiya, All India Dalit MahilaManch, Rajasthan
  12. T. Saju
  13. Sathish Samuel, Bangalore
  14. Anitha Mathur, Azad Foundation
  15. Deepak Kalra, UMANG]
  16. Minakshi, APARAJITA
  17. Shubha Jindel, PUCL
  18. Pradnya Deshpande, Psychologist
  19. Dr S Faizi, Ecologist
  20. Raj Kumar Dogra, NFIW
  21. Deba Ranjan, Documentary film maker and Human rights activist
  22. Inba, SCM India
  23. Ramesh Asher, Film Maker
  24. Bharath Bhushan Mamidi, Centre for Action Research & People’s Development, Hyderabad.
  25. Gerda Unnithan, Kejri Health Trust, RUWA
  26. Adv, A. John Vincent, Vice President, PUCL, Madhurai
  27. Akhil Chowdhari, Lawyer, PUCL
  28. Nesar Ahmed, BARC
  29. ChayaPachauli, Centre for Health and Equity, Jaipur
  30. Nirja Mishra, Academic
  31. Pritam Pal, Women’s Studies and Public Health Consultant
  32. Alaka Rao
  33. RN Jha, Patna
  34. Rabin Chakraborty
  35. Mustafa Desamangalam, Film Maker, Writer
  36. Baburaj, Film Maker
  37. Gopi, Film Editor
  38. K.P. Sasi, Film Maker, Cartoonist, Writer.
  39. Maya Pandit
  40. Meeta Singh, PUCL, Foundation for Dignity of Girl Child
  41. AshaKaira, Children and Woman Welfare Society
  42. Shobita Rajgopal, Women Studies Consultant, Jaipur
  43. Kanchan Mathur, Women Studies Consultant
  44. K. Lakshmi, Public health researcher, Hyderabad
  45. Sheelu, Women’s collective.
  46. Bhanumathi Kalluri, Dhaatri Trust
  47. C R Neelakandan, Social Activist
  48. Madhu Bhushan, Women’s rights activist-researcher, Bangalore
  49. Kirity Roy (MASUM)
  50. Joya Roy, Institute of Social Sciences
  51. Dr.Santhanam, Don Bosco, Salem

4 Comments

  1. While fully endorsing the above appeal by over 200 signatories, let me add a few pieces of
    information – partly mythological and partly historical. The name `Sabarimala’ of the temple is derived from that of a tribal woman Sabari, who was a devotee of Rama. The `Ramayana’ describes how Rama came to meet her at a hillock. According to legends, it was on this site called `Sabarimala’ (meaning the hill of Sabari) that a temple was built in the 12th century. If the followers of Rama demand the restoration of the site of the Babri Masjid to them to build a Rama temple there, purely on the basis of legends, by the same logic they should follow the story in Ramayana and restore the Sabarimala hill to the Sabari tribals (their descendants and other Adivasis), and withdraw the Brahmin priests from the temple. Adivasi organizations should launch a mass campaign to liberate the Sabarimala temple from the occupation of the patriarchal Brahmin clergy – just as the Sikh Akalis led the Gurudwara Reform Movement in the early 1920s to free their gurudwars from the control of corrupt and casteist `mohunts’ (priests who usually came
    from upper caste Hindu origins).

  2. Harish Mangalam, Generl Secretary of GUJARATI DALIT SAHITYA AKADAMY, AHMEDABAD. says:

    I fully agree and endorse the above appeal. I also appreciate comments of Sumanta Banerjee.

  3. Ratnamohan rao annam says:

    I fully agree and endorse the above appeal