Sabarimala temple is ‘secular’, must consult Wakf Board and Christian organisations before any decision, says Kerala govt

Kerala government has submitted an affidavit responding to a petition seeking to restrict entry into Sabarimala only for Hindu devotees

Continuing its anti-Hindu stand in the Sabarimala temple controversy, the Kerala state government has said that Hindus don’t have exclusive right over the temple. The Left government says that Muslims and Christians also have to be consulted in the matter of Sabarimala temple.

On 12th October, the Kerala government submitted an affidavit responding to a petition filed at Kerala High Court. Lawyer T G Mohandas had filed the petition seeking regulation of non-Hindu and non-idol worshipers into the shrine of Lord Ayyappa.

In September this year, the Supreme Court had allowed women of all ages to enter the shrine. After that, several women of different religions, and self-declared atheists had tried to enter the temple. The petition was filed in response to such attempts.

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Responding to this affidavit, Kerala government has stated that Sabarimala is a secular temple. It also says that religion can’t be a basis for restriction of entry of devotees.

The affidavit tries to bring some new facts to establish secular credential of Sabarimala temple. It mentions that KJ Yesudas has sung the Harivarasanam song played at the temple. KJ Yesudas is Christian by birth and a Sabarimala devotee, it adds. It says that several Christians and Muslims are Sabarimala Ayyappa devotees. They conduct Sabarimala pilgrimage every year.

The state government adds that it is a ‘debatable fact’ that temple was a worship place for tribals. It also says that there is a belief that it was a Buddhist temple. The word Saranam is derived from Buddhism, it adds. The affidavit also tries to establish that the Shrine has links with Vavar Mosque.

Before taking any decision on the petition, the Wakf Board, Muslim Organisations, Vavar Trust, Christian Organisations, tribal organisations must be consulted, says the affidavit. It says that larger public interest and secular issues are involved in the matter. Hence the court can’t adjudicate the matter without publication in newspapers.

In an earlier hearing of the petition, the Kerala High Court had said that Sabarimala belongs to all, not just Hindus.

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