Sabarimala row: Kerala govt welcomes SC verdict

Sabarimala row: Kerala govt welcomes SC verdict

Kadakampally Surendran. Twitter/ANI file

The CPM-led Kerala government on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court judgement that upheld the right of women of all ages to enter the Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala. 

Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran called the verdict “historic” and said it validated the contention that the restrictions violated human rights.

“Not just Sabarimala, all places of worship should be free of discrimination based on caste, creed or sex. That’s the stand of the Government of Kerala. The implementation of this verdict will be decided after detailed discussions,” the minister said. 

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which manages the administration of the temple is set to decide on the course of action regarding implementation of the order. The Board had earlier favoured status quo on ritualistic traditions followed in the temple.

CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the verdict of the five-judge Constitution bench was in line with the Left Democratic Front’s views regarding discrimination against women. 

The Left government’s stand on the matter was in contrast with the position taken by the previous Congress-led state government. In a guarded response to the media, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the Supreme Court verdict had ended the debate. 

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“The fact that all places of worship function on certain customs and rituals have to be seriously considered as well,” he said. 

When reporters pointed out that the Congress-led government had favoured restrictions on the entry of women at the temple, Chennithala said TDB under the present CPM-led government had also backed the restrictions. “But with today’s verdict, all that has become irrelevant,” the Congress leader said.

The contention that the temple deity is a celibate, a 'naishtika brahmachari', has been key in arguments favouring restrictions on the entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years. 

Kantararu Rajeevaru, the 'tantri' (head priest) of the Ayyappa Temple, expressed disappointment at the verdict. 

In the wake of the apex court order, TDB and the state government will have to address challenges, including crowd management, security and creation of new infrastructure. 

P S Sreedharan Pillai, state president of the BJP, said the government should adopt a policy of consensus and implement the order without causing strife.

Rahul Easwar, president of Ayyappa Dharma Sena and member of the 'tantri' family, said devotees would file a review petition in the Supreme Court. Prayar Gopalakrishnan, former president of TDB, also said the possibilities of a review petition were being considered.


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