Rajinikanth Ends Silence on Sabarimala, Says Don’t Interfere With ‘Time-Honoured Tradition’

Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth has already set in motion plans to start a TV channel.

Chennai: Actor Rajinikanth on Saturday said there should be no "interference" in temple traditions being followed for a long time, in his first response to the Supreme Court order on entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala.

Speaking to reporters, the actor-turned-politician said there was no second opinion on equality for women in every sphere. "But when you talk about a temple, every temple has its time honoured rituals, besides traditions being followed for a long time. My humble opinion is that no one should interfere in that," Rajinikanth said.

Noting that the top court verdict should be "respected", the 67-year-old actor however, indicated that caution should be exercised when it came to matters of religion and related rituals.

Kerala has been witnessing protests against the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into Sabarimala temple since the government had said it would abide by the ruling of the apex court.

The agitation intensified since the shrine was opened for the five-day monthly pooja on October 17.

On September 28, a five-judge Constitution bench of the SC, headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine.

On the #MeToo movement that has seen several women levelling sexual harassment charges against men including celebrities and political personalities, Rajinikanth said it was "beneficial" for women.

However, "it should not be misused and should (be) used properly," he cautioned.

On national award-winning lyricist Vairamuthu being accused of sexual harassment, the actor pointed out that the poet has denied the charges made by singer Chinmayi Sripaada.

Former Union Minister MJ Akbar, film personalities like Alok Nath, Subhash Ghai, Rajat Kapoor and Vairamuthu have been accused of sexual harassment by a number of women under the #MeToo movement.

To a question on the launch of his proposed party, Rajinikanth said 90 per cent of the work was over and that he would make the announcement at the right time.

(With PTI inputs)