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INDIAN communists branded Prime Minister Narendra Modi “shameful” after he accused them of not respecting Indian culture and history for supporting a ruling allowing women to enter the Sabarimala temple.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury hit back at Mr Modi’s criticism of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala for its handling of the situation which has led to violent protests by right-wing chauvinists.
An angry group blocked two women – despite being disguised as men – from entering the Sabarimala temple today, with them requiring police protection to guarantee their safety.
Earlier this month, two women successfully entered the temple, the first to do so since a Supreme Court ruling overturned a centuries old ban on women of menstruating age.
It led to demonstrations by those opposed to the decision with Kanaka Durga, one of the women who made it inside, attacked by her own mother-in-law after she came out of hiding.
The CPI-M, which led the LDF government in Kerala, have played a prominent role in upholding the decision to allow women to enter the temple following the ruling, despite violent opposition from BJP and RSS supporters.
Mr Modi said: “The conduct of the Kerala LDF government on the Sabarimala issue will go down in history as one of the most shameful behaviours by any party or government.
“We knew that communists do not respect Indian history, culture and spirituality, but nobody imagined that they will have such hatred.”
However, Mr Yechury accused the prime minister of “contempt of court” and said “the rule of law must prevail, not rule by mobs.”
“We abide by orders of the Supreme Court. It is truly shameful that a person in the chair of PM, sworn to uphold law and the constitution, would say this.”
In a statement, the CPI-M said Mr Modi’s speech was “atrocious and highly condemnable” for “admonishing an elected government for implementing the judgement of the Supreme Court.”
The party said the remarks had “dangerous implications for the future as it means that any Supreme Court judgement which does not suit the interests of the BJP and RSS will be defied and a government seeking to implement it will be attacked by them.”
It warned that it was unprecedented in the history of independent India, calling on all those who subscribe to the constitution and secular democratic values to condemn Mr Modi.
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