In his first visit to Sabarimala, a hill shrine in Pathanamthitta district, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday evening walked for almost one and a half hours to reach the temple of Lord Ayyappan. During his visit he took stock of the preparations for the upcoming pilgrimage season, the Chief Minister Office said.
In a video shared by the official Twitter handled of the CMO, Vijayan was seen getting off his car and walking the rest of the way along with his staff. He was escorted by the state police.
On Friday, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) chairman Prayar Gopalakrishnan courted controversy for his remarks on allowing entry of women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple.
“The board does not want to make Sabarimala into Thailand. Even if the court allows entry of women of menstruating age into Sabarimala, no self-respecting woman will go up to the hill shrine,” Gopalakrishnan, a Congress leader, said.
CM visited Sabarimala & assessed the progress of preparations for the upcoming pilgrimage season. pic.twitter.com/OIRQMKgMzd
— CMO Kerala (@CMOKerala) October 17, 2017
On a plea requesting the Supreme Court to strike down the restrictions imposed on women by the temple board, a three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan referred the matter to a Constitution bench.
Reacting to TDB chairman’s comments, Senior CPI(M) leader and Temple Affairs Minister Kadakampally Surendran demanded Gopalakrishnan to tender an apology. “What kind of comparison has he made? The board chairman has insulted women and pilgrims alike. He gives a wrong impression about the temple. He should withdraw the statement and tender an apology,” he said.