Only a law to undo SC verdict on Sabarimala will pacify protesters

Says it is hypocrisy to create violence when there is a majority to pass a law

February 06, 2019 12:01 am | Updated 05:28 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said on Tuesday that the Centre should initiate legislative process to protect the freedom of places of worship.

Mr. Tharoor, Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, raised the issue in the Lok Sabha during Zero Hour. He said only a law to undo the Supreme Court order on Sabarimala — allowing women of menstruating age to enter the temple — would pacify the protesters.

“I urge the government to come up with a legislative action to ensure and protect the freedom of religious places and worship in principle with constitutional values because we need to clarify the application of essential religious practices,” he told the Lok Sabha.

Vandalism, violence

Without naming the BJP that has been at the forefront of the protests in Kerala, the Congress MP said protests of “genuine believers” had been hijacked for political gains. “Irresponsible parties have been trying to hijack protests by genuine believers in a bid to reap political dividends. They have been engaging in vandalism and violence, not only disrupting the law and order in the State, but also disturbing the sanctity of the holy abode of Lord Ayyappa,” he said.

“This problem can only be solved either through a judicial process in the form of a review of the honourable Supreme Court’s judgment or through a legislative action by Parliament. It is hypocrisy to create violence and protests when you have the majority to pass a law,” Mr. Tharoor said.

Though the Congress had welcomed the Supreme Court ruling as a landmark judgment, the party has changed its position in the past few weeks.

Last month, at a public meeting with the Indian diaspora in Dubai, Congress president Rahul Gandhi too had changed his earlier position strongly supporting the top court’s position.

“People should be allowed to decide on the issue,” he said.

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