Sabarimala row: All party meet inconclusive; Will stick to SC order, says CM Vijayan
Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 15: The Congress and the BJP have walked out of the all-party meeting on Sabarimala called by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The meeting comes just a day before the shrine opens for the Mandala-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season.
"Everyone has to understand that we have to abide by the Supreme Court's order...it applies to everyone," said the Chief Minister after the two opposition parties walked out of the meeting.
"The opposition said that the state did not take a measured call. We have made it clear that we have only followed the SC verdict and we have not challenged it," he said.
"Supreme Court clearly says that the September 28 verdict stands. It means that the entry of women should be allowed. Govt cannot take any stand against this verdict. We respect the feelings of the devotees. We are bound to implement court verdict," he added.
"Our responsibility is to implement the order. All kind of protection will be given to all kinds of devotees. We want Sabarimala to go to greater heights and glories," he further said.
The cheif minister is set to meet representatives of Pandalam Palace and the tanthri family later in the day. An oral plea seeking a stay on the Sabarimala verdict has been rejected by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The plea was made before a Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India. The CJI, Ranjan Gogoi said that whatever order has been passed regarding Sabarimala will continue. Wait until January 22, when the review petitions will be heard in open court, the CJI said.
The two-month long annual 'Mandala Makkaravillakku' season will start on November 17 and the meeting will also take stock of the arrangements made for devotees.
In a related development, social activist Trupti Desai has said she, along with six other women of the previously banned age group, would visit the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala on November 17.
Desai has even written to Chief Minister Pinayari Vijayan, seeking security for her visit. In her email, she wrote, "We will not return to Maharashtra without darshan at the Sabarimala temple," adding, "We have faith in the government that it will provide security for us." She said, "It is the responsibility of the state government and the police to provide protection and take us to the temple as the Supreme Court has permitted all women to offer prayers at the shrine."
The temple had witnessed a string of protests from devotees when it opened for monthly pujas for five days in October and two days early this month.
Over 3,700 persons have been arrested so far and 546 cases registered against various people for violence during protests across the state after the top court permitted women of all ages to pray at the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala.
Over 500 young women registered for darshan in the online queue website of Kerala police last week.
On September 28,the apex court ruled by a 4-1 majority that no woman can be stopped from entering Sabarimala temple, ending a traditional ban on the entry of women between 10 and 50 years of age in to the shrine. Women of reproductive age were restricted from entering the over 800-year-old shrine in south Kerala's Pathanamthitta district because its presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is considered to be a celibate.