BJP holds rally against Sabarimala verdict

A protest march called by the BJP-led NDA against implementation of the Supreme Court judgment on Sabarimala, in Thiruvananthapuram, on Monday.

The BJP upped tempo of its agitation against implementation of the Supreme Court judgement allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, with a massive rally marking culmination of a six-day protest march here on Monday.

The Save Sabarimala Yatra called by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance started in Pandalam on October 10. It ended here with its leader, BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai, reiterating commitment to the protection of customs and traditions at the hill shrine.

Thousands of activists including a large number of women converged in a show of dissent against the CPM-led state government’s decision to implement the apex court’s verdict without considering a review petition. “If the government fails to come up with a solution to the crisis in the next 24 hours, we will launch a fresh agitation,” Pillai said.

He dismissed the CPM’s contention that the BJP was trying to destabilise the government and said his party was only protecting the devotees’ interests. “Using the verdict as a front, the CPM is continuing its efforts to undermine importance of the shrine which was visited by 5.04 crore pilgrims last year,” Pillai said addressing activists near the State Secretariat here.

Hindu outfits without open political affiliations have also hit the streets with protests against the judgment. Some of the activists said they would stop young women at Pampa and Nilakkal on the foothills.

A five-judge Constitution Bench had on September 28 lifted restrictions on entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years at the temple. The Travancore Devaswom Board which manages administration of the temple has called a meeting with key stakeholders including members of the tantri (head priest) family, the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam – former custodians of the temple – and devotee groups. The meeting, scheduled on Tuesday, is seen as another shot at consensus; the temple will be open for monthly pujas on Wednesday.

The ruling CPM has alleged that the BJP and key opposition Congress party are whipping up religious sentiments over the judgment. The party is set to organise public meetings to explain the government’s stand, from Tuesday.

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BJP holds rally against Sabarimala verdict

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