Invoking Sabarimala issue a violation of model code of conduct: Kerala Chief Electoral Officehttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/invoking-sabarimala-issue-a-violation-of-model-code-of-conduct-kerala-chief-electoral-office/

Invoking Sabarimala issue a violation of model code of conduct: Kerala Chief Electoral Office

The Bharatiya Janata Party's Kerala unit has held several protest marches against the apex court order, saying it defied the tradition and belief of Lord Ayappa devotees.

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The Supreme Court lifted the age-old ban on entry of women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple. (file photo)

Raising the issue of allowing women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple during poll campaigning is a violation of the Elections Commission’s model code of conduct, Kerala Chief Electoral Officer T R Meena said Monday. Meena said action will be taken against political parties, or its leaders, if they cite the Supreme Court’s judgment permitting the entry of women of all ages.

“Citing/invoking or doing some sort of religious propaganda based on Sabarimala issue/judgement will be a clear violation of the model code of conduct and we will be taking action,” Meena was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Kerala has 20 Lok Sabha seats, and elections will be held in the state in a single phase on April 23.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Kerala unit has held several protest marches against the apex court order, saying it defied the traditions and beliefs of Lord Ayappa devotees.

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The Kerala Devosthanam Board, which oversees the management of the hill shrine, initially said it would appeal against the order, but later agreed to uphold the Supreme Court verdict.

Several women devotees between the ages of 10 and 50, who tried to trek to the temple after the apex court judgment, faced fierce protests. However, two women, Bindu Ammini and Kanakadurga, reached Sabarimala in the early hours of January 2 with the help of police.

The Kerala government also initially claimed that 51 women had entered the Sabarimala temple, but later revised the list saying only two were able to enter. The state government had assured the apex court that its order will be implemented, and police protection will be provided to women willing to undertake the trek.