Sabarimala: Priests, Pandalam royal family cite lack of intent from Kerala government, reject talks

The Kerala government appears to be in a state of deadlock in its efforts towards reaching a consensus in the Sabarimala verdict, as the Thantris (priests) and the members of the erstwhile Pandalam royal family have rejected the proposal of any talks with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

According to the reports, the principal stakeholders of the Sabarimala case, Thazhamon Madam family of Thantris and erstwhile Pandalam royal family are of the view that the government’s decision to meet them is just an eyewash and they think that the Communist government in Kerala and Travancore Devaswom Board are in hurry to implement the verdict rather than filing a review petition in the apex court.

“There is no point in having a discussion when a decision has been already made. Moreover, the government and Devaswom board are not ready to file a review petition. Hence their intention is clear”, said Sasikumar Varma, representative of Pandalam palace. R R Varma, another representative of the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam, said the family wanted to protect the age-old traditions at the temple and was not interested in a discussion aimed at reaching a consensus on implementing the SC’s order.

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One of the three Thantris of Sabarimala, Kandararu Mohanaru said they have filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against the earlier verdict and said that they will think about the future course of action only after knowing the outcome of the review petition. According to him, any discussions with the government prior to the verdict of the review petition do not make any sense.

Kandararu Mohanaru said the decision was taken after discussing the issue with the leadership of the Nair Service Society. He also criticised the recent decision of the Travancore Devaswom Board to deploy women employees and policewomen to handle the women devotees at the monthly puja which is set to be held later this month.

The Kerala government had invited to hold talks with the concerned stakeholders after it had faced severe backlash for its decision to implement the order of the top court and not to file a review petition. It was followed by massive ‘Naamjapa’ marches taken by lakhs of women on the streets of Kerala. The members of 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 participated in this march to protest against the interference of the top court in age-old religious customs.

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.

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