Sabarimala verdict: In Kerala, women march to oppose Supreme Court decision; Left, BJP, Congress play it safe

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New Delhi | October 03, 2018 12:32 PM

Sabarimala verdict: Yesterday, people of Pandalam witnessed the "Sharana Mantraghosha Yatra", led by thousands of women devotees, who are opposing women's entry in Sabarimala temple.

SABARIMALA VERDICTSabarimala verdict: The peaceful protests were scheduled to begin at 4 pm in front of the Medical Mission Junction, Pandalam. (Representative image)

Sabarimala verdict: Days after the Supreme Court’s judgement allowing the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple, protests have started to brew in Kerala over the top court’s verdict. Ayyappa devotees, most of them were women, staged peaceful protests on state and national highways in various parts of the state on Tuesday opposing the top court’s judgment.

Yesterday, people of Pandalam witnessed the “Sharana Mantraghosha Yatra”, led by thousands of women devotees, who are opposing women’s entry in Sabarimala temple. The peaceful protests were scheduled to begin at 4 pm in front of the Medical Mission Junction, Pandalam. However, women devotees from several districts across the state reached Pandalam by early afternoon to participate in the “Sharana Mantraghosha Yatra”. Gradually, a sea of peaceful protesters were seen from the Medical Mission Junction till beyond the Pandalam junction and the Manikandanthara.

Thanthri Kantararu Mohanaru, Rahul Eashwar, PC George MLA, actor Devan, Shilpa Nair, co-founder of People for Dharma and Hindu Aikya Vedi General Secretary ES Biju, Ward member KR Ravi, Narayana Varma, NSS Union President, Pandalam and Shivankutty, Devaswom Board member, are among those who addressed the gathering as part of the “Sharana Mantraghosha Yatra”

On the other hand, a political slugfest has erupted over the issue with the ruling CPI(M), Congress and BJP engaging in a war of words over the matter. On October 28, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra lifted the ban on entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine at Sabarimala.

Ramesh Chennithala, senior Congress leader and the Leader of Opposition, Kerala state legislative assembly, said, “The state government should not be in a hurry to implement measures for women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple. The state government can consider a review petition to challenge the Supreme Court verdict and also maintain a balanced stance on a sensitive issue like this, which affects the beliefs and faith of many people.”

“CPM and BJP have shown double standards in their stand on Sabarimala women’s entry issue. While, the RSS welcomed the verdict initially, BJP had opposed it. The ruling party CPM changed the government’s stance in the affidavit to support women’s entry and CPM MLA Padma Kumar-led Devaswom Board took a stand against women’s entry. See how these political parties have been taking different stands on the same issue,” Chennithala said.

BJP state president P.S. Sridharan Pillai said, “If women police officials are brought into Sabarimala temple by the Pinarayi Vijayan government, a Gandhian mode of protest will come into force to oppose such a move.”

P.C. George, an Independent MLA stated, “No woman from Erumeli will enter the Sabarimala temple by violating centuries-old faith and beliefs. To preserve and protect the faith of devotees with regard to Sabarimala, an ‘upavasam’ will be held on October 9 in Erumeli.”

“With regard to women’s entry in Sabarimala, the BJP stands with the sentiments of the devotees. The ground reality right now is that if women try to forcefully enter Sabarimala, the devotees will oppose them and if that happens, BJP will stand committed to respecting the sentiments of the devotee, because the state government’s stance is politically motivated and arbitrary right from the start, none of the stakeholders were consulted and no discussions were held with any stake holders before the state government took such an arbitrary stand on the Sabarimala issue,” State General Secretary of BJP K. Surendran said.

Ashwathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, member of the Travanore royal family stated, “Women’s entry to Sabarimala temple is a matter of grave concern. It also pains us deeply. Centuries-old faith and way of worship that is integral to Hinduism are now being dismantled and destroyed. My grandmother, the Maharani of Travancore royal family, has visited Sabarimala temple only after her uterus has been removed. To the best of my knowledge till now, no woman of the menstruating age has entered the Sabarimala temple. Reports that say that women of menstruating age have entered Sabarimala are incorrect. Several people spread such rumours but we know such a thing has never happened.”

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