Navodhana Samrakshana Samiti headed for a split

Chattambi Swamy  

The State government-sponsored Navodhana Samrakshana Samiti (Renaissance Protection Samiti) appears headed for a split.

The Hindu Parliament, an umbrella organisation of at least 50 Hindu organisations, on Thursday threatened to quit the RPS in protest against what its State general secretary C. P. Sugathan described as an overwhelmingly backward caste tilt in the organisation. He told reporters in Kozhikode that the Hindu Parliament could no more associate with a forum that reckoned Chattambi Swamy as a pariah and Nair Service Society (NSS) founder Mannathu Padmanabhan as a casteist. Ayyankali, Sree Narayana Guru and Chattambi Swamy were the ‘renaissance trio’ in Kerala. The samiti has to treat them equally.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan formed the Navodhana Samrakshana Samiti in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha election, primarily to counter socially what the government perceived as a dangerous right-wing drift in Kerala society fuelled partly by the profoundly divisive and resentful Sabarimala agitation. The Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam and Kerala Pulayar Mahasabha (KPMS) are the dominant partners in the forum. The government had included Muslim and Christian social organisations in the samiti belatedly after it came under criticism for ignoring the role of minorities in the social reformation movement in Kerala.

The CM's office said it had received no communique from the Hindu Parliament. A samiti office-bearer said Mr. Sugathan's protestations had no ideological mooring. His exit was of no consequence to the samiti and was linked more to his opposition to KPMS general secretary Punnala Sreekumar, who is the samiti convener.

The government had earlier drawn flak for inviting Mr. Sugathan to join the samiti because of his controversial role in preventing women pilgrims from entering Sabarimala. He had also come out strongly against the RPS-promoted women's wall organised on New Year's Day to defend gender equality. The government had backed the wall, which the RPS also projected as a coming together of women to resist the move of reactionary forces to revive the anachronistic caste-based social hierarchy in Kerala.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 4:32:00 AM |

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