Now, Congress, Kerala socio-cultural body NSS demand review plea on Sabarimala verdict
With the protests over the Supreme Court allowing entry of all women into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple getting louder, the Congress’s state unit and prominent socio-cultural body Nair Service Society (NSS) on Thursday demanded the state government file a review petition and explore ways to bring an ordinance to maintain the hilltop shrine’s traditions.
Ever since the Supreme Court annulled the age-old practice of denying right to worship to women aged between 10 and 50 years in a 4:1 verdict on Spetember 24, the state has been witnessing a series of protests by several organizations, including groups led by women, who said they have no plan to visit the temple in Pathanamthitta district and were ready to wait.
Workers of the Mahila Morcha, the women wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Thursday picketed the headquarters of Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) which runs the temple. The Sangh Parivar’s various wings and other organisations have called a meeting in Kochi on October 8 to chalk out a strategy.
The Left Democratic Front government and the TDB had made it clear they will go ahead with implementing the verdict, leading to protests from the opposition parties.
“Instead of rushing with the verdict, the government should inform the court about practical difficulties involved in implementing the order. Devotees are upset and nobody can overlook this,” said senior Congress leader K Muralidharan, adding Sabarimala was not a gender issue and no rights violations were involved.
“In beliefs, customs and rituals, the court role is only limited. If a custom is discriminatory in nature, religious heads, priests and devotees should remedy it. Let religious customs be dealt with religious heads.... If it goes like this, customs in other religions will also be questioned,” he added.
The NSS, a body of influential Nair community, said it will file a review petition in the Supreme Court. The NSS, which joined as a party in the long-drawn litigation, said the government was showing unnecessary hurry in implementing the verdict.
“The government and TDB can’t overlook sentiments of crores of devotees. They should talk to all concerned parties to arrive at a consensus,” said NSS general secretary Sukumaran Nair.
Meanwhile the BJP was left red-faced after a lead article appeared in party mouthpiece ‘Janmabhumi’ on Thursday hailing the verdict. In the article, R Sanjayan, deputy director of Bhartiya Vichara Kendram, said the entry of women will only enhance the glory and popularity of the temple. Later the BJP distanced itself, saying it was his personal opinion.