BJP Protests Against Sabarimala Verdict
Thousands of Bharatiya Janata Party activists today marched to the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram to protest the implementation of the Supreme Court’s verdict allowing the entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala shrine.
In another development, the Travancore Devaswom Board has convened a meeting of various stakeholders of the shrine, including the Tantri (head priest) family, Pandalam royals and Ayyappa Seva Sangam, in the state’s capital tomorrow.
The meeting, called to discuss the preparations of the three-month-long annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrim season starting from Nov. 17, was expected to see discussions on the recent court order.
The shrine will reopen on Wednesday for its monthly rituals. BJP activists, including a large number of women and children, marched to the secretariat in the city, chanting mantras of Lord Ayyappa and holding the garland clad pictures of the deity.
The foot march, which started last week from Pandalam, was in protest against the Left government’s decision to implement the top court’s order without considering sentiments of believers and Lord Ayyappa’s devotees.
The party has also alleged that the attempt to implement the judgment was a “conspiracy” to destroy the hillock shrine, where lakhs of people globally visit during the three-month-long pilgrim season beginning mid-November.
An array of senior leaders of NDA, including actor-turned MP Suresh Gopi, Bharatiya Dharma Jana Sena chief Thushar Vellappally, were in the forefront of the march, led by BJP state President PS Sreedharan Pillai.
Pillai said if the state government failed to resolve the issue at the earliest, the BJP-NDA’s agitation would take a new turn.
We will meet each villager in Kerala and chalk out a massive agitation plan to protect the Sabarimala temple, its centuries-old traditions and sentiments of Lord Ayyappa’s devoteesPS Sreedharan Pillai, BJP State President, Kerala
Claiming that first phase of the Sabarimala stir was a major “milestone”, the BJP said if the CPI(M)-led LDF government does not find a solution in the next 24 hours, the party-led NDA would chalk out a “massive” agitation plan.
The Sabarimala temple will remain closed on Oct. 22 after the five-day monthly pooja of Malayalam month of “Thulam”. Heavy security arrangements were put in place across the capital city, especially on the routes through which the BJP foot march passed.
Kerala has been witnessing a series of agitations by various devotee groups and Hindu outfits for some days demanding that the sanctity of the temple rituals be protected.