Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 07 March 2021 2.31 PM IST

Cong rakes up Sabarimala women's entry issue ahead of polls


KOCHI: Raking up the Sabarimala women's entry issue ahead of the coming assembly polls in Kerala, Congress on Monday urged the LDF government to seek legal remedies to ''heal the wounds created in society'' due to its alleged hastiness in implementing the Supreme Court order, permitting women of all age groups into the hill shrine.

Senior party leader Oommen Chandy shot off a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, urging him to move the apex court, seeking speedy consideration of the review petitions filed against its order allowing entry of women in the menstrual age group in the temple.

The petitions are currently under the consideration of a larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice.

''There should not be a delay in healing the wounds afflicted in the minds of Ayyappa devotees due to the Supreme Court order and efforts by the state government to implement it using police force'', the former Chief Minister said.

The move by the veteran Congress leader, who recently got a lead role in the Congress-led UDF's poll campaign, came even as the CPI(M) was reportedly taking steps to ensure that the Sabarimala issue is not discussed in the coming polls.

In his letter, Chandy said the state's plea before the apex court should be based on the affidavit filed by the UDF government in 2016, the verdict of the Kerala High Court in1991 and clauses of the Travancore-Cochin Hindu ReligiousInstitutions Act, 1950.

He noted that in 2016, the UDF government headed by him had filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court opposing the entry of women in the 10-50 age group, highlighting the legal, customary and factual issues involved in it.

However, the LDF government took a stand with the petitioners, who filed the plea seeking entry of women in all age groups in the hill shrine.

It was contrary to the positions taken by the TravancoreDevaswom Board, which manages the administration of the temple, he noted.

The LDF, particularly CPI(M), had drawn flak from several quarters over the women's entry issue for its alleged hastiness in implementing the Supreme Court order.

In the Lok Sabha polls in 2019, post-Sabarimalaagitation, the LDF had suffered a massive drubbing, losing 19out of the total of 20 seats.

The CPI(M), however, regained lost ground by winning the recent civic body polls.

The party, which conducted a door-to-door campaign post the LS polls, had admitted that a section of believers had misunderstood the Left on the Sabarimala issue.

''A majority of the believers in the state are Leftsympathisers, but the recent incidents surrounding the Sabarimala temple young women entry issue had created a misunderstanding among them.

This was revealed by some in the house visits we made,'' then CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had said in July 2019 during a house visit program organised by the party.

Kerala had witnessed high drama during the nearly three month long annual pilgrim season in 2018 with around a dozen women in the 10-50 age group being prevented from entering the Sabarimala temple by protesting devotees after the doors were opened for all women following the apex court verdict.

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