K.P.M. Basheer

To hold protest against those who oppose the Bill

Says Bill will help to correct injustice

KOCHI: Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan has warned of ‘satyagraha' in front of the homes of those MLAs who oppose the Devaswom Bill when it comes up for voting in the Assembly.

Mr. Natesan said here on Sunday that the Bill was an opportunity to correct an age-old injustice and to give the ‘low-caste' people a voice in the administration of temples which had been dominated by the ‘upper caste elites.' If this was blocked by MLAs with ulterior motives, the SNDP would, with the support of all Dalit and low-caste organisations, stage satyagrahas in front of the houses of all those MLAs who opposed the Bill.

Mr. Natesan wanted the Bill, which several Hindu organisations such as the NSS had opposed, be passed in the original form.

“The SNDP wants the government to get the Bill passed by the House in the original form as was introduced by (former Devaswom Minister) G. Sudhakaran without removing a comma or full-stop,” Mr. Natesan told The Hindu.

He alleged that the ‘upper caste' organisations that opposed the Bill were raising lame excuses to torpedo the Bill and thus deny the Ezhavas, Dalits and other low-caste people to get a chance to administer the temples. He claimed that the huge majority of worshippers at the temples were low-caste people, but the minority ‘upper castes' were monopolising the administration. “We will not tolerate this any longer,” he said.

Drawing a parallel to the ‘media hype' over the Mandal Commission report during the Prime Ministership of V.P. Singh, Mr. Natesan alleged that the ‘upper caste organisations' were now using the media to project their interests and create a hype over the issue.

On the opposition to increase the number of members in the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) to seven, Mr. Natesan said seven members were necessary as the revenue, activities and number of worshippers at temples had increased several folds, though the number of temples had not increased much.