- Meeting to discuss row over entry of women in menstruating ages
- The two-month long pilgrimage season will start on November 17
- Mr Vijayan has accused the BJP and RSS of creating trouble at Sabarimala
The Congress and the BJP walked out of the all-party meeting on Sabarimala called by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday. The Chief Minister's meeting was aimed at discussing the row over the entry of women of menstruating ages at the Sabarimala temple, ahead of the two-month long annual 'Mandala Makkaravillakku' or the pilgrimage season, set to start on November 17.
"We have to see if particular days can be fixed for women...this needs to be discussed. The Supreme Court clearly said that the September 28 verdict stands and that means women should be allowed. The state government can not take any stand against this verdict, though we respect the feelings of the devotees," said the Chief Minister after the two opposition parties walked out of the meeting.
The Chief Minister's stand is "unacceptable and he is behaving like Stalin," state BJP chief told NDTV, while Ramesh Chennithala, the Congress opposition leader said, "This is very unfortunate. It's for the first time that opposition's advice has not been taken."
The political stand-off over Sabarimala comes amid sparring of activists over the past few days. Nearly 500 young women have registered on the website of the Kerala police, for darshan, over the last one week.
Activist Trupti Desai, who had written to the Chief Minister, seeking security for her visit to Sabrimala on Saturday said, "I have not received any response from the Kerala government. If any incident occurs, it's the responsibility of the Chief Minister and police chief." Rival activist Rahul Eashwar, who is opposed to entry of women in 10 to 50 age groups, promised to fight Ms Desai tooth-and-nail to prevent her from entering the shrine.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan earlier accused the BJP and the RSS of conspiring to create trouble at Sabarimala. "The odious politics and perfidious ways of the BJP stand exposed. Evidence has surfaced that BJP leaders in the state connived to create trouble," Mr Vijayan said on November 9.
Last week both the BJP and the Congress hit the streets in Kerala protesting the Supreme Court's order, lifting ban on girls and women in 10 to 50 age groups, from entering the temple. While the BJP took out a rath yatra called 'Save Sabarimala Campaign', the Congress organized padyatras across the state, starting from five locations.
The Sabarimala temple saw a string of protests when it opened for monthly pujas for five days in October and two days earlier this month. Not a single woman in menstruating age groups has been able to enter the shrine so far.
On Monday, the Kerala government submitted an affidavit in the High Court, stating that it never interfered in religious matters and rituals at Sabarimala temple. The state government also told the court that some political parties, with their own agenda staged protests condemning the judgment of the Supreme Court and obstructed women devotees from entering the temple.
As many as 3,505 protesters have been arrested and around 529 cases were registered in connection with a series of incidents of violence in the state after the opening of the temple gate in October.