Kerala HC stops RSS mass drills, weapons training on Sarkara Devi temple premises

The Kerala High Court has said that no mass drill or weapons training shall be permitted on the premises of Sarkara Devi Temple in Thiruvananthapuram District, which is under the management of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB).

The direction came while disposing of a plea filed by two devotees seeking an order to prevent “illegal use and unauthorised occupancy” of the temple premises by the RSS and its members.

The court directed the police to provide necessary assistance for the strict compliance of an earlier TDB order banning RSS ‘shakhas’ (branches) and mass drills at the shrines managed by the board.

“No mass drill or weaponry practices (sic) shall be permitted on the premises of the said temple, which is under the management of the Travancore Devaswom Board. The Station House Officer of Chirayinkeezhu Police Station shall render necessary assistance to the Administrative Officer to ensure strict compliance of the prohibition…,” Justices Anil K Narendran and P G Ajithkumar said in a recent order.

The TDB, which manages the temples in Kerala, had on May 18 issued a fresh circular asking officials to strictly follow its earlier order banning RSS ‘shakhas’ (branches) or mass drills in the shrines under it.

In that circular, the TDB had said that stern action will be taken against the officials who refuse to follow its 2021 order in the same regard.

The TDB had in 2016 issued a circular banning all types of arms training in the temple complexes by the RSS. Later, on March 30, 2021, the board reissued the circular asking the officials to take action in this regard.

In 2016, the then Devaswom Minister, Kadakampally Surendran, had alleged that the RSS was trying to turn temples into storehouses of arms in Kerala and that the government had been receiving a large number of complaints in this regard.

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