Thiruvananthapuram: With just a couple of days to go for the beginning of two-month-long annual ‘Mandala Makkaravillakku’ season, the Kerala government has convened an all-party meeting on Thursday to discuss all issues surrounding the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. The season would begin this Saturday. (Also read: Kerala DySP Accused in Sabarimala Protester Killing Found Dead) Also Read - Speaking in Fluent Bengali, Shashi Tharoor Requests Migrant Workers to Remain In Kerala | Watch
The meeting comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court refusing to put a stay on its September 28 verdict that lifted the ban on entry of women in the 10-50-year age group. However, in view of the widespread protests on the verdict, the apex court would be hearing a batch of review petitions in an open court on January 22. Also Read - No Door Delivery of Liquor in Kerala: High Court Stays Govt Decision
Meanwhile, the state government needs to make sure the court verdict is followed and all arrangements are made for devotees. Also Read - Amid COVID-19 Lockdown, Kerala Govt to Issue Liquor Passes For People With 'Withdrawal Symptoms'
In a related development, social activist Trupti Desai has said she, along with six other women of the previously banned age group, would visit the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala on November 17. Desai has even written to Chief Minister Pinayari Vijayan, seeking security for her visit. In her email, she wrote, “We will not return to Maharashtra without darshan at the Sabarimala temple,” adding, “We have faith in the government that it will provide security for us.” She said, “It is the responsibility of the state government and the police to provide protection and take us to the temple as the Supreme Court has permitted all women to offer prayers at the shrine.”
Earlier this week, the Kerala High Court directed the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the temple, to give an explanation by next week on the violent incidents after the shrine was opened for a special puja last week.
The division bench, headed by P R Ramachandra Menon, gave the direction after perusing a report of the Sabarimala special commissioner. The special commissioner had submitted a report to the court, where he referred to the violent protests when its doors were opened on November 5 for a special puja.