Indus Scrolls was the first media outlet that revealed the real motives behind the aggressive push of the Left Front government in Kerala led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to violate the age-old traditions in Sabarimala camouflaged as a move to ensure gender justice. The state government used all resources at its disposal to destroy Sabarimala, notwithstanding a groundswell of protests by the women against the move. It used force, fraud and forgery and its clout in the local and national media and its unmatched capacity to trigger communal conflagration – the CPI(M) attempted to make Sabarimala issue a Hindu-versus-minorities issue though it has no — to achieve its nefarious designs. (Recently National Commission for Minorities Vice-Chairman George Kurian in his letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh pointed out that there was a ‘deliberate attempt’ to trigger communal violence in the garb of Sabarimala issue by the ruling political party in Kerala.)
On January 22, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that his government will go ahead for a new airport at Erumeli, 25 km away from Sabarimala for pilgrims to the hill shrine. (https://www.indiatoday.in/india/video/new-airport-near-sabarimala-politics-over-kodanad-case-more-1436518-2019-01-22). This is the first time that the Chief Minister is revealing the real plan. According to sources in the administration, the real agenda of the government is to make Sabarimala a tourist destination to serve the interests of the land mafia, who had allegedly grabbed government and devaswom lands. A masterplan has already been made for this purpose. The land identified for the proposed Erumeli airport is in the possession of an evangelical group.
The New Indian Express had reported that the tour operators were bringing unsuspecting foreigners who love trekking to Sabarimala, citing the SC order. Former Travancore Devaswom Board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan told Express: “We should develop Sabarimala as an international pilgrimage centre, not a tourist destination. I don’t oppose the Sabarimala airport project. But it shouldn’t be used to make Sabarimala a tourist destination.”
CPI(M)’s interest in the project
To make Erumeli airport profitable, there should be a steady flow of visitors to the hill shrine at Sabarimala. However, the current customs and traditions do not permit that. The temple is opened only in Mandala season. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has mooted the idea that the temple should be opened round the year. (https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/Pinarayi-moots-daily-darshan-at-Sabarimala/article14576620.ece ) Also the CM wants to do away with the current restriction on women’s age.
It is suspected that huge corruption is involved in the project and some top leaders in the CPI(M) have been paid to make the project a reality. Besides, the party can appoint its cadre as employees in the project. Besides winning their loyalty, appointments will get sleaze money for the party.