The temple body that runs the Sabarimala temple in Kerala has invited stakeholders to discuss aspects of the recent Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the shrine, PTI reported on Monday. The Travancore Devaswom Board has invited temple priests, the royal family of Pandalam, and groups of devotees for a meeting on Tuesday.
During the meeting, the board will also discuss preparations for the three-month-long pilgrimage season that begins on November 17. The temple is also set to open for monthly rituals on Wednesday.
“TDB has no prejudice over any matter related to Sabriamala...” board President A Padmakumar told reporters. “Let them come and share their views. We will take a suitable decision on all aspects regarding the temple after that.” Padmakumar had earlier said the board would not file a review petition.
The members of the royal family and the priests said they would soon decide collectively whether they will attend the meeting. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is protesting against the Supreme Court order, has rejected the offer for talks, the Hindustan Times reported.
“We are confident the issue will be sorted out amicably,” Padmakumar said. “We will hear all stakeholders patiently. We don’t want to make it a political issue. At the same time we will convince them about our limitations.”
The Left Democratic Front government, which has decided to implement the court ruling, held a meeting on Saturday to evaluate the preparations ahead of the arrival of pilgrims at the temple. Earlier this month, the priests’ representatives had refused to participate in talks proposed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The National Ayyappa Devotees Association and the Nair Service Society have filed review petitions in the Supreme Court.
The Opposition Congress and the BJP have accused the Left government of showing “undue haste” in implementing the order.
Meanwhile, protests against the court verdict continued on Sunday in various parts of Kerala. A “Long March” by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance reached Thiruvananthapuram after starting from Pandalam last week. The march will conclude at the state secretariat on Monday.
“Each BJP worker will fight till his final drop of blood is shed to protect the sanctity of the centuries old tradition of Sabarimala,” party state chief PS Sreedharan Pillai said at a rally.
Hindutva group Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad also protested against the court’s ruling on Sunday, and its chief Pravin Togadia called for a strike on October 18 if the government implements the order. “We demand that the state government file a review petition in the Supreme Court,” he added.