After a 38-year-old woman SP Manju dyed her hair grey to enter the Sabarimala temple on Tuesday, 8 January, claims of her being from Congress have surfaced all over social media.
The Facebook page 'Nation With Namo' claimed that Manju was a Congress leader, and was a Christian by religion, whose actual name is SP Manju Joseph.
The post had close to 1,100 shares at the time this article was being written. It has also been shared by another page “PMO India: Report Card”, where it has garnered close to 400 shares.
Similarly, OpIndia too put out an article based on the same claims.
TRUE OR FALSE?
Both claims are false. While Manju, Dalit activist, is the state secretary of the Kerala Dalit Mahila Federation, she is not associated with the Congress. And she certainly is not Christian, but Hindu by religion.
However, she did contest the 2010 local body elections on a Congress ticket on the insistence of the party.
Speaking to The Quint, Manju said:
"“I am not an active member of the Congress, but I did contest the 2010 local body elections in Cheruthala on a Congress ticket. I was approached by the party since I already had a following in the region owing to my association with the Dalit Federation.”"
However, Manju lost the elections, thereby ending her association with the party.
Meanwhile, the Dalit Federation is an independent organisation with no political affiliations, she clarified.
In a televised debate on local news channel Mathrubhumi, representatives from the Congress party, too, denied Manju's supposed affiliations with the party.
HOW DID MANJU ENTER THE SABARIMALA TEMPLE?
As mentioned earlier, Manju dyed her hair grey in order to enter the temple and escape the protestors’ notice. She also claimed that she did not seek police protection. The Kerala Police are yet to confirm Manju’s visit.
This was not Manju’s first attempt to enter the Sabarimala. Earlier in October 2018, the activist tried to enter the shrine and was requested by the police to turn away, citing the area’s tense situation as reason.
On 2 January, two women – Bindu and Kanakadurga – had entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple to offer prayers
The shrine was closed for “purification rituals” hours after the women entered the shrine. On 28 September 2018, the Supreme Court had lifted the ban on the entry of women of menstruating age (between 10-50) at the Sabarimala temple.
(With inputs from Adila Matra)
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