Thiruvananthapuram: While the Sabarimala Hindu temple is set to open its doors for monthly puja on Wednesday, the BJP in the state has warned the government to resolve the issue of women visitors soon, said media reports on Monday. Needless to say, the storm is far from over as far women’s entry into the temple is concerned. In fact, on Tuesday, the temple board has invited the other stakeholders for a meeting.
The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), the temple custodian, has invited the representatives of Pandalam Royal Family, Sabarimala priests, priests’ organisation and Hindu organisations for a meeting even as Kerala BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai warned the Left government to resolve the issue of women visitors or face “severe consequences”. The BJP, RSS, Congress and Hindu groups have been protesting against the September 28 Supreme Court ruling lifting the ban on entry of women in the 10-50 age group into the temple, saying it will breach age-old traditions.
Pillai, who led a huge protest from Pandalam on Monday, told a gathering in front of the state Secretariat that if the Pinarayi Vijayan government failed to find a solution to the controversy, “then things will be bad”. “We give him 24 hours to resolve the issue. If he fails to do it, then he should be prepared to see a different type of protest from us. We will make it very clear that we are not trying to make political capital through this campaign,” Pillai was quoted as saying by IANS.
Addressing the gathering, BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao assailed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for the government’s decision against filing a review petition. “Ayyappa devotees not only in Kerala but across the country are disturbed by the recent developments. The state government is responsible for the crisis,” he said.
With the temple to be opened on October 17 for five days, enforcing the Supreme Court order could be a daunting task for the government with several religious outfits threatening protests. The state’s Industries Minister EP Jayarajan has accused the Sangh and the Congress of trying to incite violence over the issue. He said it was the government’s duty to implement the court’s order. “The state government will provide all the needed support and safety to all women who wish to come and pray at the temple,” he said.
Senior CPI-M leader and Chairperson of the Kerala Women`s Commission MC Josephine said that all those women desiring to go to the temple may pray at the shrine. Leader of Opposition and Congress veteran Ramesh Chennithala said the BJP and RSS combine was trying to turn the Sabarimala issue into a problem area. “The Centre is playing a double game as they are not coming out with an ordinance. We (Congress-led UDF) are fully with the believers and will go to any extent to protect the traditions of the temple,” he said. (With Agency Inputs)