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With the ruling LDF supporting the entry of women of all ages in the Sabarimala hill shrine, former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Monday said the government should not interfere on issues relating to customs and rituals of temples. “Decisions on such issues should be taken by eligible persons after holding discussions at appropriate platforms. The ministries have been created and ministers appointed for the convenience of governance and not to take decisions on rituals and customs,” he told reporters in Kozhikode.
The freedom provided to other religions to follow their customs and rituals should also be given to Hindus and a controversy should not be created on the rituals of the hill shrine of Sabarimala. “As the government is not interfering in the beliefs of other religions, it should not interfere in Hindu beliefs also,” he said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had on August 18, during a review meeting of various facilities at the hill shrine of Sabarimala, suggested that the practice of providing special darshan for VIPs at the temple should be done away with and that the Tirupati temple model queue system for pilgrims needs to be introduced.
He also wanted the shrine be kept open on all the days in a year. However, his suggestions were turned by Prayar Gopalakrishnan, President of Travancore Devaswom Board which manages the world famous shrine, and heated exchange followed between them.
Responding to queries on the LDF government’s reported plan to formulate a media policy, the Congress leader said it was not right to put restrictions on media in a democratic system. “Freedom of the press is an important aspect of the democratic system. In a democracy, it is not right to put restrictions on media,” he said.