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Controversy erupts on inclusion of CP Sugathan in Committee for Women's Wall

Controversy erupts on inclusion of CP Sugathan in Committee for Womens Wall

Thiruvananthapuram: Discordant notes have started emerging on the 'women's wall' planned by the state government on January 1, 2019, mainly with the inclusion of a controversial figure as joint convenor of the general council.

In addition, though the government has projected the rally as a means of highlighting women's rights, its underlying theme against the opposition to Supreme Court verdict granting women of all ages entry to Sabarimala, has also started forcing some outfits to back out from the event.

However, chiefly at issue is the induction of C P Sugathan, state general secretary of Hindu Parliament, one of the organisations that attended the meeting convened by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. In the light of the dissenting voices a round, Sugathan has also made it clear now that if the 'wall' drive is to support the entry of young women at Sabarimala, he would withdraw.

In Sugathan's case, the focus has been less on his own stance regarding women's entry, than on the revelations of his earlier stances on related issues from the Hindutva camp.

Soon after his role in the general council of the wall move was made known, it was revealed that during the Hadiya case involving religious conversion and marriage. he had made fierce comments to the effect that had he been in the place of Hadiya's father, he would have removed her headscarf, killed her and courted arrest. (For the uninitiated, Hadiya is the name adopted by erstwhile Akhila Ashokan, following her embracing of Islam; her marriage to Shafin Jahan had led to a long legal battle for her freeom, after she was kept in virtual arrest by her parents following a high court order. Eventually the Supreme Court let her go on her own free will and live with Shafin Jahan.)

Sugathan was also in the forefront of those who instantly opposed women's entry to Sabarimala and had lined up with BJP volunteers in their resistance to the entry of women at Sabarimala during the Thulam rituals in October. He was quoted as saying, “I don't support the entry of young women. My position is that young women should not be allowed to enter until the Supreme Court takes a final decision on the matter."

Sugathan's Facebook posts on issues of women and Ram temple have been cited as indicators for his strident right-wing commitments quite unbecoming of the themes said to be upheld by the women's wall.

The 'human wall' stretching from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod was planned at a meeting of community organisations called by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan last week. The meeting decided to organise the event with the aim of protecting Kerala's renaissance values which it felt were being threatened by the ongoing BJP-led agitation against the entry of young women to the Sabarimala temple.

Subsequent reports indicate that another meeting of the general council will be held on Monday presided over by the chief minister to add more representation to the council and to consider issues related to the earlier included members. Already the Opposition has decried it as a move to divide the people into two, to gain political mileage with funds from the exchequer.

On another level, absence of women representatives in the council for 'women's wall' was also highlighted by several women's outfits. The proposed meeting may also discuss this aspect.

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