Sabarimala standoff: Kerala government gears up for state-length women’s wall
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the event will be a show of strength against the regressive section of the state that took to the street, protesting the government decision to implement the Supreme Court verdict allowing the entry of women of all ages into the templeindia Updated: Dec 31, 2018 23:00 IST
Amid growing unrest at hill temple Sabarimala, Kerala’s ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) is set to form a 620 km women’s wall from one end of the state to the other, involving participation from around three million women on the New Year’s day.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the event, scheduled to be held along the national highway in the evening, will be a show of strength against the regressive section of the state that took to the street, protesting the government decision to implement the Supreme Court verdict allowing the entry of women of all ages into the temple. On September 28, 2018, a five-judge constitution bench had passed a 4-1 verdict, allowing women of menstrual ages to worship at the hill temple, triggering large-scale violence by traditionalists who claim female devotees between 10 and 50 years are not allowed into the shrine because the presiding deity is celibate .
Though over two dozen women tried to trek to the temple after the order, their attempts were foiled by angry devotees.
CM Vijayan also lashed out at the Nair Service Society, a body of upper caste Nairs, for its stand on the “women’s wall”. “Those who participated in the ‘Ayyappa Jyothi’ (lighting of traditional lamp) must self-introspect whether it is right for an organisation, which was part of the renaissance movement in Kerala, to join hands with the RSS. This shows their double standards,” Vijayan told media persons. The event will be attended by the LDF’s coalition partners apart from 176 socio-cultural bodies. Organisers of the event said they were also in touch with the Guinness authorities for a possible record entry.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, which have been criticising the government’s handling of the issue, have dubbed the event as “communal wall”.
“By erecting a wall, the government cannot stifle popular feeling on Sabarimala,” said state BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai.
First Published: Dec 31, 2018 23:00 IST