Kerala government finalises steps to free temples from RSS arms training

By Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: In what could be termed as a major blow for Sangh Parivar in Kerala, the state government has initiated steps to ban RSS-sponsored arms training, drills and other illegal activities in the temples run by Devaswom Board.

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The Devaswom department is drafting an order to ban weapon and sports training in temples. According to media reports, the order has been vetted by Labour Department and expected to be issued within two days after getting final clearance from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Quoting Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran’s office, media reports said that the order would completely ban weapon training, drill and assembly for non-spiritual purposes on temple premises. Though it names no organisation, it targets RSS which is presently holding arms and physical training in some of the temples in Kerala.

Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran had earlier said the government had received complaints from the public against the RSS for storing weapons in temples.

More than 3,000 temples, run by the Travancore Devaswom Board, Cochin Devaswom Board, Malabar Devaswom Board and the Guruvayur Devaswom Board will come under the order.

Meanwhile, experts point out that training is illegal in the temple premises as per the provisions of Kerala Police Act 2011 which provides for action against those conducting or facilitating self-defense training without valid licence.

The law department has also submitted a report that to the state chief secretary saying the government can ban all such physical activities under Section 73 of Kerala Police Act following suggestion, sought by Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran.

Few days back, Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran had come down heavily against RSS for conducting shakhas inside the temples citing arms training as part of shakhas were keeping people away from temples.

Meanwhile, Travancore Devaswom Board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan said that weapon training wouldn’t be allowed at temples under the board. He however, added that RSS volunteers would be to allowed to continue offering prayers at the temples under the TDB.