Kerala Devaswom Board Minister Kadakampally Surendran on Friday said that the Left Democratic Front government will not protect women’s rights activists who plan to visit Sabarimala temple, The Hindu reported. Surendran claimed the hill shrine was not a place for those who just want publicity.

He was speaking to reporters in Thiruvananthapuram a day after a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court ruled, in a 3:2 verdict, that a larger bench should again consider the matter of the entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala temple. The court had taken the decision after reviewing a number of petitions filed against its September 2018 verdict that had removed traditional restrictions on women in the shrine. But last year’s judgement allowing all women to enter the temple has not been stayed.

Surendran said Sabarimala was not a place for anyone to display their activism. “If so, they should come with an order from the Supreme Court for police protection and escort,” he said. “The presence of activists has in the past acted as a catalyst for communally divisive forces to muster their cadre and attack pilgrims and police in the name of defending the faith in Sabarimala.”

The pilgrimage season begins on November 17 and will go on till January 20. As many as 45 women of menstrual age have made online bookings to enter the temple this year, according to reports.

“Some confusions are still there in the order,” Surendran added, echoing Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s statements from Thursday. They said they will consult legal experts soon.

In Thursday’s verdict, Justices Rohinton F Nariman and DY Chandrachud had presented dissenting views and criticised the violent agitations that broke out in Kerala last year after the court’s verdict. “Compliance with Supreme Court judgements is not optional,” they said, adding that bonafide criticism of SC judgements was permissible, but organised efforts to subvert the judgement cannot be allowed.

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