The Kerala Assembly witnessed an uproar on Wednesday after members of the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party raked up the Sabarimala temple row, Manorama Online reported.
At a meeting on Tuesday, the United Democratic Front had decided had decided it would stall the proceedings of the 13-day Assembly session until the state government withdraws the prohibitory orders imposed at and around Sabarimala.
Opposition leaders on Wednesday carried placards and banners into the House. Kerala MLA PC George and BJP MLA O Rajagopal turned up in black clothes typical of Ayyappa devotees, The News Minute reported. According to a BJP statement, the party will cooperate with George’s Kerala Jana Paksham in the ongoing session on the Sabarimala issue.
The Kerala Police had imposed restrictions on devotees at the Sabarimala temple after repeated incidents of violence at the temple and arrested several devotees for defying prohibitory orders. Several organisations have appealed in court against the imposition of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which prohibits four or more people from gathering in one place.
On November 21, the Kerala High Court had said that pilgrims cannot be prevented from moving in groups and chanting devotional songs to Lord Ayyappa.
No protests at Sabarimala, says court
The Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed that no protests or demonstrations should be held at Sabarimala, PTI reported. A division bench of Justices PR Ramachandra Menon and N Anil Kumar said the Sannidhanam, or the temple complex, was not a place for agitations.
The court modified the restrictions imposed on chanting Lord Ayyappa’s name as well as an order banning devotees from halting at the Sannidhanam. The court said that women, children and the physically challenged can halt at the complex.
However, it refused to tamper with the imposition of prohibitory orders at Sabarimala.
The court has appointed two retired High Court judges and a senior Indian Police Service officer, as its observers during the ongoing festival season. The temple opened on November 16 for the third time after the Supreme Court in September allowed women of all ages to enter the shrine. But so far, no woman between the ages of 10 and 50 has been given entry into the temple due to massive protests.