Sabarimala row: Political deadlock not solved as BJP, Congress walk out from the all-party meet

New Delhi: The all-party meeting – which began on Thursday to resolve the political tiff related to entry of women into the Sabarimala – concluded with no substantial result, ahead of the Friday’s commencement of pilgrimage season. It saw Congress-led UDF and the BJP walking out of the gathering convened by the Left Front government as they blamed the chief minister for the standoff.

Now the chief minister is responsible for any eventuality at the temple,” said opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, blaming the Vijayan for what he described as, his adamant stand. “The government wasted a golden opportunity,” Chennithala was quoted as saying in media reports..

The state BJP’s PS Sreedharan Pillai also blamed the state government. “The chief minister wants to make Sabarimala a battleground,” said Pillai, asserting the chief minister will be responsible for any eventuality at hilltop temple. “We wasted more than two hours,” he said.

The opposition has been demanding that the state government back down from its stand of proactively implementing the Supreme Court’s September 28 ruling that allowed women in the reproductive age to enter the shrine.

The top court has agreed to revisit its verdict in January but has made it clear that it had not stayed its original verdict.

Women between the age of 10 and 50 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.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is going to reach out to Sabarimala temple’s chief priest’s family and the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam, considered to be the custodians of the famous temple.

The shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa has been at the centre of high drama and tension following the top court order, with women trying to enter the shrine and protesters bent upon blocking them.

Political tiff

  • The political stand-off over Sabarimala comes amid sparring of activists over the past few days. Nearly 500 young women have registered on the website of the Kerala police, for darshan, over the last one week.
  • Activist Trupti Desai, who had written to the Chief Minister, seeking security for her visit to Sabarimala on Saturday said, “I have not received any response from the Kerala government. If any incident occurs, it’s the responsibility of the Chief Minister and police chief.” Rival activist Rahul Eashwar, who is opposed to entry of women in 10 to 50 age groups, promised to fight Ms Desai tooth-and-nail to prevent her from entering the shrine.
  • Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan earlier accused the BJP and the RSS of conspiring to create trouble at Sabarimala. “The odious politics and perfidious ways of the BJP stand exposed. Evidence has surfaced that BJP leaders in the state connived to create trouble,” Mr Vijayan said on November 9.
  • Last week both the BJP and the Congress hit the streets in Kerala protesting the Supreme Court’s order, lifting ban on girls and women in 10 to 50 age groups, from entering the temple. While the BJP took out a rath yatra called ‘Save Sabarimala Campaign’, the Congress organized padyatras across the state, starting from five locations.
  • On Monday, the Kerala government submitted an affidavit in the High Court, stating that it never interfered in religious matters and rituals at Sabarimala temple. The state government also told the court that some political parties, with their own agenda, staged protests condemning the judgment of the Supreme Court and obstructed women devotees from entering the temple.