Defying the Supreme Court order, the Kerala unit of the Shiv Sena on Saturday warned of mass suicide if women dared to enter the Sabarimala Temple, ANI reported. “Our women activists will gather near the Pamba river on October 17 and 18 as part of a suicide group. If any young woman tries to enter Sabarimala, our activists will commit suicide,” Peringammala Aji, a member of Sena, was quoted as saying by the news agency.
Sena has been vociferously protesting against the apex court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the shrine. On September 28, the top court, in a 4-1 ruling, ended the entry ban on women of menstruating age at the Sabarimala temple, contending that the centuries-old custom at the shrine was not an essential religious practice and “the attribute of devotion to divinity cannot be subjected to the rigidity and stereotypes of gender”.
The outfit’s warning came even as Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that his government would follow the top court’s order. Meanwhile, the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam has demanded that the state government file a review petition or ask the Travancore Devaswom Board to file it.
On Friday, chaos broke out outside Kerala Devaswom minister Kadakampalli Surendran’s residence after workers of BJP’s youth wing — Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha — protested against the state government’s decision. Police were forced to resort to water cannons in an attempt to manage the crowd. However, despite the protests, CM Vijayan maintained that his government will not file a review plea in the case.