Kerala government decides to implement SC order after meet, Opposition walks out

Updated: Nov 16, 2018, 12:39 IST | Agencies | Thiruvananthapuram

CM Pinarayi Vijayan convenes all-party meet against the backdrop of protests by devotees

Ayyappa devotees participate in a protest rally against the SC decision to allow women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple. File pic/AFP
Ayyappa devotees participate in a protest rally against the SC decision to allow women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple. File pic/AFP

Consensus eluded a crucial all-party meeting called on Thursday to resolve the stand-off over permitting women of menstrual age into the Sabarimala shrine with the Kerala government firm on implementing the Supreme Court order and the Opposition walking out in protest.

After the nearly three-hour-long meeting, dubbed as a 'farce' by the Opposition, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said his government was duty-bound to enforce the court's September 28 verdict allowing women of all ages to pray at the hill temple of Lord Ayyappa as it had not been stayed.

He had convened the meeting in the backdrop of state-wide protests by devotees after the Supreme Court ended an age-old ban on entry of women in the 10-50 age group. "The government has no other option as the Supreme Court has made it clear that the September 28 verdict has not been stayed, which means women in the 10-50 age group have the right to visit the Sabarimala temple," Vijayan told the media.

Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP staged a walkout at the meeting, convened two days ahead of the temple's opening on November 17 for the two-month long pilgrim season when lakhs of devotees are expected to throng the shrine.

Sept 28
Day SC had delivered the verdict

Nov 17
Day the Sabarimala temple will open again

Jan 22
Day SC will hear the review petitions

'Gender equality need not be applied'
Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Thursday said tradition and sentiments of the devotees should be respected on the issue of entry of women of all age groups in Sabarimala and gender equality need not be applied in matters relating to the Lord Ayyappa temple. Any change in matters relating to religion and faith should be done after consultations with spiritual leaders, Sri Sri said. There are several temples dedicated to Lord Ayyappa in the country and women are not barred anywhere else except in the hill shrine in Kerala.

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