The minister in charge of Kerala’s shrines on Tuesday asked the Bharatiya Janata Party to respect the Supreme Court’s verdict on women’s entry in Sabarimala temple as well since it has welcomed the judgement on the Ayodhya matter, PTI reported.
Kadakampally Surendran, the minister for cooperation, tourism and Devaswoms, asked the BJP not to encourage “goons and anti-socials” to go to the Sabarimala shrine. Surendran was replying to a question by BJP MLA O Rajagopal in the Assembly. Rajagopal had asked the minister about the arrangements made at the temple ahead of the annual pilgrimage season.
Rajagopal, the only BJP member in the House, alleged that the number of devotees going to the hill shrine had come down last year. He asked why the state’s Left government supported the entry of “atheist, Left activists” into the temple.
Surendran said: “Please don’t encourage anti-socials and goons to go to Sabarimala like last time...Society expects more from a personality like you [Rajagopal]. Now, the Ayodhya case verdict has come, your party has welcomed it with open arms. Hope the same attitude will be there with respect to the Sabarimala issue.”
He said arrangements were made at Sabarimala to keep the offerings of around 6,500 devotees, and 1,161 toilets, 160 bathrooms and 150 urinals had been set up.
The entry of women of menstruating age groups into the Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala has been a contentious issue. There were widespread protests and violence in the state when some women tried to enter the shrine after the Supreme Court last year decided that women of all ages would be allowed to enter the temple. The verdict had overturned the centuries-old tradition that prohibited women in the age group of 10-50 from offering prayers there. The BJP had opposed the implementation of the verdict.
On Saturday, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court gave its verdict on another topic of religious concern: the land dispute involving the site in Ayodhya where the Babri Masjid stood until being demolished in 1992. The court ruled in favour of the construction of a temple for the deity Ram at the disputed site and asked the Centre to set up a trust for it. It also asked the government to provide a separate five-acre plot for the construction of a mosque.
A Supreme Court decision on the Sabarimala review petitions is due before November 17.
The BJP has welcomed the order, as the construction of a Ram temple at the site has been on its agenda for long.