Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Wednesday said the state government will not file a review petition of the Supreme Court verdict lifting the age restriction on entry of women to Sabarimala temple. “We are a law-abiding society and we have to follow the Supreme Court orders,” CM Vijayan said.
Vijayan said the state will ensure facilities and protection to women devotees visiting the shrine. “Women police personnel from Kerala and neighbouring states will be deputed to ensure law and order. Women who want to go to Sabarimala cannot be stopped,” Vijayan said.
On Tuesday, thousands of people, mainly women, marched on the streets of Pandalam to protest against, the Supreme Court ruling. People were chanting Ayyappa keerthanams. This was followed a call by the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam, which has a considerable stake in the traditions and rituals at the temple and the newly floated Ayyappa Dharma Protection Samithi.
R R Varma, a member of the erstwhile Pandalam royal family, said that around 50,000 people turned up for the march. “This is a strong message for everyone regarding the concern of the Hindu faithful, including women, in the Sabarimala issue. The turnout was spontaneous, we had just announced it through mass media,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Congress party’s central leadership said Tuesday that it supports the Supreme Court’s decision to allow women of all ages to enter Sabarimala temple in Kerala but argued that the party’s Kerala unit is free to express its opinion depending on “sensitivities” of the state.
On Monday, the party’s Kerala unit had argued that the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the temple, should file a review petition against the judgment.