Kerala Government has called for an all-party meeting on Thursday in order to discuss the various issues relating to the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala, which witnessed widespread protests following the Supreme Court verdict to allow the entry of women of all ages into the shrine.
The call for meeting by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan came days after he accused the state BJP leaders of creating trouble in Sabarimala.
On November 13, the top refused to stay its September 28 verdict in which its lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of girls and women of ages between in the 10-50 age group from entering Lord Ayyappa’s shrine.
However, the Supreme Court on Tuesday heard over 40 review petitions seeking the recall of the earlier verdict which allowed women between the age of 10 to 50 years at the Sabarimala Temple. The bench consisting of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra agreed to hear the petitions in an open court on January 22, 2019.
The two-month long annual 'Mandala Makaravilakku' season will start on November 17 and the meeting will also take stock of the arrangements made for devotees.
Over 3,700 persons have been arrested so far and 546 cases registered against various people for violence during protests across the state after the top court permitted women of all ages to pray at the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala. Over 500 young women registered for darshan in the online queue website of Kerala police last week.
In October, when Sabarimala had opened for the first time since the Supreme Court upheld women's right to pray, no women between 10-50 managed to make their way into the Temple, as large groups of protesters blocked their paths. On the first of the five days that the Temple was open, women making their way to the Pamba base camp were also attacked and faced intimidation, including a number of women reporters who had gone to cover the historic event.
Over the subsequent days, despite being escorted by the police, women only managed to make it to the Temple gates, where they were blocked once again, and forced to return as the Temple priests moved to close the Temple and not allow anyone to enter.
(With agency inputs)