BJP playing politics with Sabarimala despite SC order.

BJP playing politics with Sabarimala despite SC order.

Kerala CM vows to protect devotee rights to Sabarimala; blasts Congress, BJP

Flashpoint Sabarimala: Locals gather to stop women from visiting temple

Agency Report | Thiruvananthapuram | 16 October, 2018 | 09:40 PM

Just hours before gates are supposed to be opened for women to enter Sabarimala temple, women are being stopped from taking the road leading to the historic shrine. The Supreme Court had, in its September 28 decision, allowed the entry of women between the age group of 10-50 at the Sabarimala temple. The SC had set October 17 as the date for starting the entry of women at Sabarimala. When women reporters attempting to take the route to the temple, were stopped and cars not allowed to travel any further.

Declaring that the Kerala government will protect the rights of all Sabarimala devotees, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has accused the BJP and Congress of trying to destroy the state’s secular fabric by politicising the issue. Addressing a meeting organised by the CPI-M here, Vijayan went hammer and tongs against both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“The Congress has joined the BJP in trying to drive a wedge between the devotees and the government and they are trying to break the secular tradition of our state,” he said.

On Tuesday morning, after presiding over a cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister vowed to protect the rights of the devotees when it was pointed out that vehicles on way to Sabarimala were being checked by those opposed to the Supreme Court ruling also allowing women in the 10-50 age group to enter the famed temple.

Two women journalists were stopped from proceeding to the temple town.

The protesters had gathered at Nilakal, about 20 km from the foothills of the temple, located at Pampa.

“Such a thing cannot be accepted. No one can take the law into their hands. The government will ensure that nothing of that sort happens. Those who want to pray cannot be stopped,” said Vijayan.

“We have already made this very clear that we will abide by whatever the apex court verdict is. Now that the verdict has come, we will implement it.”

Congress President Mulapally Ramachandran on Tuesday declared that the party won’t object to any woman coming to the temple but wished that this does not happen.

“The Vijayan government is trying to make the Sabarimala issue into a conflict zone. The BJP is also trying to make this into another ‘Ayodhya’ issue but they are going to fail badly. The need of the hour is for the Centre to come out with an ordinance,” said Ramachandran.

State BJP president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai expressed full support to the protesting believers.

“Sabarimala temple has its particular set of traditions and culture. We will fully support all those who want the traditions to be kept like that and we will be with them,” said Pillai.

On Tuesday, hundreds of devotees, including a large number of women, protesting against the Supreme Court ruling, gathered at Nilakal and started checking all vehicles bound to the temple town.

The temple opens on Wednesday at 5 p.m. for the customary monthly pujas.

The protesters are said to be mainly locals and others who have arrived from nearby areas.

Meanwhile, the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB), the custodian of the temple, on Tuesday met the Pandalam royal family, representatives of the Sabarimala Tantri family and other Hindu organisations to see how best the controversy can be resolved but the deadlock continued.

“We demanded that the TDB should file a review petition today itself, which they said was not possible. So we felt that there was no reason to go ahead with the meeting,” said Sasikumar Varma, a member of the Pandalam royal family.

TDB President A. Padmakumar told the media that they were willing to undertake more talks and all issues would be discussed at a meeting on October 19.
“Yes, I have also been told that some people have started screening vehicles. Such a thing cannot be accepted. No one can take the law into their hands. The government will ensure that nothing of that sort happens. Those who want to pray cannot be stopped,” said Vijayan.

He pointed out that the government had made it very clear that it will not file a review petition against the Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict allowing women in the age group of 10 to 50 to pray at the famed Sabarimala temple.

“We have already made this very clear that we will abide by whatever the apex court verdict is. Now that the verdict has come, we will implement it,” the Chief Minister said.

On Tuesday morning, hundreds of devotees, including a large number of women, protesting against the Supreme Court ruling, gathered at Nilakal and started checking all vehicles bound to the temple town.

The temple opens on Wednesday at 5 p.m. for the customary monthly pujas.

“We are determined that come what may we will not allow a single lady in the age group 10 to 50 to reach anywhere near the temple. It’s a matter of life and death and under no circumstances will we allow a breach of tradition,” said a middle-aged woman at Nilakal.
Meanwhile, the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB), the custodian of the temple, on Tuesday met the Pandalam royal family, representatives of the Sabarimala Tantri family and other Hindu organisations to see how best the controversy can be resolved. (IANS)