The ruling Left Democratic Front and Opposition parties failed to reach an agreement at a meeting convened by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the Sabarimala row in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. Vijayan had called for an all-party meeting to discuss the protests against the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple, The Indian Express reported. The temple will open for Mandala pooja Mahotsavam on Friday and close on December 27.
Vijayan said the government was duty-bound to implement the Supreme Court’s order allowing the entry of women of menstruating age into the temple, reported Manorama Online. Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala accused the chief minister of being responsible for “any untoward incident” at the temple. Chennithala urged the state government to protect the customs of the temple and claimed that the base camps in Nilakkal and Pamba lacks facilities for devotees.
Chennithala said the Congress-led United Democratic Front walked out of the meeting because the government was adamant on sticking to its stand. “The government should seek the court’s permission to implement the verdict, but not allow women’s entry into the temple until the Supreme Court considers the review petition,” the leader of the Opposition said.
Bharatiya Janata Party state chief PS Sreedharan Pillai described the meeting as a “waste of time” and said that his party would continue to protest against the government’s attempts to allow women into the shrine.
After the meeting, Vijayan told reporters that his government had tried to convince the political parties about its compulsion to follow the top court’s order. “We do not have any prejudices in this case,” the chief minister said. “The Supreme Court categorically stated the other day that there is no stay on the September 28 verdict. The government will provide all protection to the faithfuls.”
He further added: “Fundamental Rights are above religious beliefs.” He said the government proposed a suggestion to allow women to enter the temple on certain days.
Muslim League leaders also participated in the meeting. The state Congress and the BJP have condemned the Supreme Court order.
On Tuesday, the top court said it would hear in open court a batch of 49 review petitions against its September 28 verdict on January 22. Later in the day, the chief minister said his government would continue to implement the top court’s order.
Women have not been allowed to enter the shrine on the two occasions it has opened since the top court’s decision.
Kandararu Rajeevaru, the head priest, said the court’s decision to hear the review pleas was a “great one”, while the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh said it would continue to protest against attempts to allow women to enter the hill shrine.