Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 29 (PTI): The Opposition Congress led UDF Saturday held women’s ‘Sangamams’ (meetings) in all 14 districts and in front of the Secretariat here to counter the ‘women’s wall’ of the CPI(M)-led LDF on January 1 and the “Ayyappa Jyothi” organised by BJP and right outfits recently. Also Read - COVID Situation May Worsen by Next Month: SC Asks 4 States to Submit Status Report Within Two Days

The ‘Women’s wall” has been planned by the government from Kasaragod to the state capital on January 1 to protect renaissance values and garner support for its decision to implement the Supreme Court verdict, allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa. Also Read - AG Venugopal Grants Consent For Contempt Proceedings Against Kunal Kamra Over His Tweet

The BJP and right outfits had on December 26 lit thousands of “Ayyappa Jyothies” (lamps) across the state to protect the rituals and traditions of Sabarimala. Also Read - Parliament Panel Questions Twitter On Allowing Comic Kunal Kamra's 'Offensive Tweets' Against SC In Platform

Inaugurating the meeting in front of the secretariat here, opposition leader in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala, said that the “women’s wall” would only divide people on the basis of caste and ‘take the state back to the dark ages.’ Chennithala also attacked the government for inviting only a section of the Hindu community for the event and said the Muslim and Christian communities had also contributed much to the state’s progress.

KPCC President Mullapally Ramachandran, also spoke.

The opposition had flayed the government for using its machinery for the ‘women’s wall’ and alleged that people were being forced to make donations, which the ruling LDF had denied.

The Chief Minister had also made it clear that government funds would not be utilised for the event.

The Sabarimala shrine had witnessed protests over the government’s decision to implement the September 28 Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all age groups to offer worship at the shrine.

No women in the ‘traditionally barred’ age group of 10-50 years has so far succeded in offering prayers at the shrine, since the apex court verdict.

The first phase of the two month long ‘Mandala puja’ came to a close at the Ayyappa temple on December 27 At least a dozen young women had unsuccessfully tried to trek the hill shrine and offer prayers, but had to return following protests from devotees.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.