Sabarimala verdict: Public resentment against apex court order, says opposition

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In this Dec. 1, 2015 file photo, Hindu worshippers queue during a pilgrimage at the Sabarimala temple in the southern Indian state of Kerala. India’s Supreme Court on Friday, Sept. 28, 2018, lifted the temple’s ban on women of menstruating age, holding that equality is supreme irrespective of age and gender. The historic Sabarimala temple had barred women age 10 to 50 from entering the temple that is one of the largest Hindu pilgrimage centers in the world. (AP Photo/ Hareesh Kumar A S, File)

As Kerala government plans measures to implement the Supreme Court order lifting the age restriction on entry of women to Sabarimala, Opposition parties in the state, the BJP and the Congress, have said there is public resentment over the ruling. While the BJP has urged the state government to bring an ordinance to get around the apex court ruling, the Congress has said Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the temple, should file a review petition.

State BJP president P S Sreedharan Pillai said the party would stand with the Hindu faithful at any cost. “There is no division with the Sangh Parivar over the issue. RSS at the national level has favoured the entry of women of all ages to the temple considering the North Indian scenario. In Kerala, the situation is different.’’

Pillai added, “The CPM government is trying to destroy the temple, which is a centre of Hindu reformation. There is a Communist conspiracy against Sabarimala.’’

He said the government should promulgate an ordinance to get around the Supreme Court verdict. “The issue of entry of women in the 10-50 years age group should be decided by priests and other stakeholders of the rituals,” he said, adding that the BJP youth wing Yuva Morcha and women’s wing Mahila Morcha would launch an agitation if the government did not address their concerns.

Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Assembly Ramesh Chennithala said the Devaswom Board should file a review petition against the verdict. Social and religious repercussions of implementing the order should be considered seriously, he said. All places of worship function on the basis of traditions and their violation would hurt the faithful, he added.

Senior Congress leader and former CM Oommen Chandy said the government should not hastily implement the order. “The court order is binding, but it has created grave concern among the faithful,’’ he said.

R R Varma, member of the erstwhile Royal family of Pandalam that has rights over conducting rituals in Sabarimala, said the family would go for a review petition after it gets a copy of the order. “Sabarimala was the family temple of Pandalam royal family and we handed it over to the government. The court has not fully analysed the situation in Sabarimala. The verdict has insulted the faithful,’’ he said.

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