The Kerala Assembly witnessed chaos for the third straight day as the Congress-led United Democratic Front disrupted proceedings and sought a discussion on the Sabarimala matter, PTI reported. The House was adjourned 22 minutes after the proceedings began.
The opposition alliance has vowed to stall the proceedings of the 13-day Assembly session until the government withdraws the prohibitory orders imposed at and around Sabarimala.
Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan on Friday refused to take up an adjournment motion on this and disallowed the opposition’s demand to suspend all business during the Question Hour. United Democratic Front legislators shouted slogans and protested near the Speaker’s podium with a black banner and placards.
“When such a serious issue is being faced by pilgrims at Sabarimala, should the opposition not raise it in the House?” asked Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, who requested the Speaker to take up the adjournment motion. He was referring to devotees experiencing hardships at the temple during the ongoing pilgrimage season.
Sreeramakrishnan contended that the Kerala High Court has appointed a three-member committee to monitor activities at Sabarimala and that the House had already discussed the issue for eight hours. The Assembly should discuss other issues like the devastation caused by the floods in August, he said. As the Opposition did not relent, the Speaker adjourned proceedings for the day.
He said the adjournment motion had been taken up once before on Wednesday, Manorama reported. “The Assembly rules and procedures do not allow the taking up of an adjournment motion on the same issue twice,” said Sreeramakrishnan.
But the Opposition argued that the second motion focused on the devotees’ problems while the earlier one, moved by VS Sivakumar of the Congress, related to the prohibitory orders at and around the temple complex. Chennithala alleged that the previous government led by the United Democratic Front had allowed matters such as the solar scam to be raised multiple times in the House.
“We were prepared to cooperate today with the Question Hour and not disrupt proceedings,” said Chennithala. “We wanted to protect our rights and wanted permission to move an adjournment motion, which was disallowed.”
The temple opened on November 16 for the third time since 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 able to enter the temple due to massive protests. Before the top court’s ruling, women of menstruating age were not permitted to enter the temple.