Kerala govt to counter "misinformation" campaign

Police personnel use water cannon to disperse ‘Yuvamorcha’ activists marching to the house of Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran's residence demanding that the state government file a review petition against the Supreme Court's Sabarimala verdict, in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. PTI

Amid Opposition against the implementation of the Supreme Court judgment allowing entry of women of all ages in the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, the CPM-led ruling front in Kerala is set to counter what it called a “misinformation campaign” by political opponents.

The Left Democratic Front (LDF) will organise public meetings across the state, from October 16, to explain the government’s stand on the issue, LDF convener A Vijayaraghavan told reporters here. Protests against the judgment continued on Thursday with the backing of BJP and affiliated outfits. The Opposition Congress party has decided against staging public protests but backed devotees who maintain that entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years is against ritualistic traditions of the temple where the deity is a naishtika brahmachari (celibate).

“It’s unfortunate that the Congress-led opposition is helping the BJP and RSS mobilise support for the agitation. It’s a dangerous political move. The agitation comes with political motives and the devotees are being used in an attempt to destabilise the government,” Vijayaraghavan said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will speak at a public meeting in Thiruvananthapuram, on October 16, and later in Pathanamthitta (October 23) and Kollam (October 24). Vijayan has maintained that the government is not against devotees and was only implementing the September 28 order of the five-judge Constitution bench. The ruling coalition plans to organise public meetings in all district headquarters before October 30 to clarify on the government’s position regarding the issue.

The LDF’s counter-campaign comes in the wake of criticism that the government did not take all stakeholders into confidence before making arrangements for entry of young women to the hill shrine.

The Travancore Devaswom Board which manages the administration of the temple has clarified that no additional amenities were being arranged. Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said, during a TV debate, that the government did not expect a rush of woman devotees at the temple.

MORE PROTESTS

A march taken out by the BJP-affiliated Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in Thiruvananthapuram turned violent after the activists clashed with the police near the official residence of the Devaswom Minister. A five-day ‘Save Sabarimala Yatra’ by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, launched on Wednesday in Pandalam, is heading to Thiruvananthapuram. Protests against the court judgment were also held in Kottayam district.

 

 

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Kerala govt to counter "misinformation" campaign

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