Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said that the state government may arrange separate days to let the women devotees, between the age group of 10-50, enter the Sabarimala temple. The Lord Ayyappa shrine for the Mandala-Makaravilakku pilgrimage will open on Friday, November 16. CM Vijayan also said that he would speak with the head priest as well as representatives of the Pandalam palace to see if the plan could be implemented. Also Read - 'Stand Together With Govt But Sudden Lockdown Created Immense Panic', Rahul Gandhi Writes to PM
At the all-party meeting today, during which the Kerala government had hoped to reach a common consensus considering the Supreme Court’s ruling on the entry of women into Sabarimala, CM Vijayan made it clear that the order of the apex court will be implemented despite the protests from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress party. Also Read - More Nuanced, Compassionate Approach Required to Deal With Crisis: Rahul Gandhi on Lockdown
The Kerala CM also urged the devotees to understand the state government’s compulsion to implement the Supreme Court’s order, saying that the beliefs cannot be above the fundamental rights of women. Speaking at a press conference after the all-party meet, Vijayan said, “It wasn’t a question of devotees, the State is with devotees, no one should have a doubt about it…We don’t have any other way as the law enforcing land.” Also Read - Madhya Pradesh: 22 Rebel Congress MLAs Join BJP, Day After Kamal Nath's Resignation as Chief Minister
“The Supreme Court clearly says that the September 28 verdict stands. It means that the entry of women should be allowed. Govt cannot take any stand against this verdict. We respect the feelings of the devotees. We are bound to implement the court verdict,” he said. He further assured that the devotees will be protected.
Since the opposition parties failed to reach a common ground, Congress staged a walkout alleging that CM Vijayan was “adamant”. Accusing the state government of refusing to listen to the demands of the opposition, Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala said, “The government refused to listen to our demands. This is a challenge to devotees. It’s unfortunate that the CM spoiled a golden chance to bring peace to Sabarimala.”