Under pressure from numerous quarters, the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala on Wednesday decided to withdraw cases against protesters on the Sabarimala temple issue and also against those involved in anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests.
The state Cabinet decided to withdraw the cases as they are not serious criminal cases.
Incidentally, Vijayan was forced to take this decision after the Congress-led opposition said if they return to power, they would withdraw all these cases.
Reacting to the Vijayan’s decision, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said while he welcomes this decision, it came a bit late and the reasons why it has been made now is known to all, hinting at upcoming Assembly polls.
But BJP leader Kummanam Rajasekheran said he fails to understand why the decision appears to have come with a rider that “serious criminal cases” will not be withdrawn.
“The government should first make things clear on which are those cases that fall under the serious category. We all expected that the government would apologise to the people for having unleashed a police raj against the Sabarimala believers and then they should have withdrawn each and every case that was registered against the believers who protested over violation of temple traditions,” said Rajasekheran.
G. Sukumaran Nair, general secretary of the Nair Service Society – the socio-cultural body of the Hindu Nairs – said this is certainly a good step of the Vijayan government.
“We were the first to demand this but I don’t think all the issues will end with this,” said Nair.
Back in 2018, Vijayan rubbed Sabarimala temple worshippers the wrong way when his government announced that it would go forward and implement the apex court order which said the temple should be open to all women, as against the tradition and customs, no women in the age group 10 to 50 are allowed.
That led to massive protests by angry worshippers who came out in large numbers and fought a bitter battle with the police who were trying to escort women who came to break the tradition. During that period numerous cases was registered against the protesters.
Things took a turn for the worse for Vijayan when the LDF was able to win just one of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala and the single reason attributed was the anger of the Hindu community over breaking of the Sabarimala temple tradition.
And now with the Assembly polls round the corner, it remains to be seen, with the damage already done, how far this will benefit Vijayan who is aiming to become the first Chief Minister in the state’s history to return to power by winning two successive elections.