The Communist government in Kerala on Saturday softened its stand and decided to invite the three tantris (supreme priests) of the Sabarimala shrine and also the members of the erstwhile Pandalam royal to hold a discussion on the recent Supreme Court order to allow women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple, which has attracted a lot of furore in the state of Kerala.
According to the reports, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan will invite the priests and the members of the royal family for talks on Monday. However, the CPM has backed the Supreme court verdict on Sabarimala and also advised the Kerala government to be careful while dealing with the issue and not to create a negative impression on the critical religious issue.
The Kerala government’s decision to hold talks with the concerned stakeholders comes in a backdrop of a massive ‘namjapa’ marches taken by lakhs of women on the streets of Kerala following the Kerala LDF government’s decision to implement the order of the Supreme Court without filing a review petition in the apex court.
Kerala Temple Affairs Minister Kadakampally Surendran said that they will meet all persons concerned and convince them that as an elected government they are duty-bound to implement the verdict of the highest court of the country. “Eyeing votes, some parties are fanning trouble. Their mischief won’t succeed”, the minister lashed out at the opposition parties.
Sasikumar Verma, member of the Pandalam royal family and Sabarimala chief priest Rajeevaru Kandararu had participated in a protest rally in Changanassery in Kottayam district on Saturday. Reportedly, this was the first time a high-ranking priest of the shrine and members of the royal family had protested against the decision of the top court. The chief priest said that everybody should stand together to preserve their traditions, rules and faith of the Lord Ayyappa traditions.
However, the Sabarimala chief priest Rajeevaru Kandararu said he is yet to receive any invitation from the CM. “Feelings of devotees have been hurt. Women are coming up in large numbers saying they will not enter the temple. But some people are adamant that women in certain age-group will be allowed, come what may,” said Verma.
The Supreme Court in its recent judgement had ordered Sabarimala Shrine to open its doors to women of all ages, repealing the age-old tradition to not let women of a reproductive age of 10-50 enter the Sabarimala shrine.
Following the Supreme Court order, many men and women came on to streets to protest against both Supreme Court and the state government for interfering in their religious traditions. The members of the Pandalam royal family, members of the People for Dharma movement, members of the ‘Ready to Wait campaign, various members of Tanthri families and devotees of Lord Ayyappan were part of the protest.