Sabarimala verdict brings mixed reactionstext_fields
Kochi: The High Court verdict on Sabarimala review and writ petitions issued on Tuesday, posting the case for hearing on 22 January and refusing to stay the 28 September SC verdict - granting women of all ages entry to the Sabarimala hills - has on the one side buttressed the state government position in favour of women 's entry. All the same, it may pose a big challenge to the government to rein in the protesters and ensure smooth passage of pilgrims during the mandala season.
Meanwhile, the verdict has evoked mixed reactions from political and community leaders. On the demand that the Centre should issue an ordinance, if it is serious about barring entry to women and mainting the tradition in the temple, has been rejected by BJP President Amit Shah. In an interview to a national news channel, he answered to the effect that the party is not going for the governmental path of ordinance but the political path of agitation.
Amit Shah said that Kerala government is playing politics on the issue, and justified his speech made at Kannur recently. He had said that the courts should not issue orders that could not be enforced, and cited those regarding use of public speakers in mosques, jellikettu ban and the judgement regarding the Shiah-sunni dispute on graveyard.
SNDP Yogam General Secretary, Vellappally Natesan opined that every one should show the decency to respect the apex court's judgement. He added that women used to away from visiting Sabarimala not because of law but following custom. He hoped that the same would continue.
The Sabarimala temple Tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru reacted that it was a positive sign that the court's five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has now decided to hear the review petitions related to women's entry. The very decision to hear the pleas in open court on 22 January is seen as a good sign and victory. He hoped that the final verdict will also be favourable.
KPCC President Mullappally Ramachandran welcomed the judgement and said that it was a setback to the state government. The chief minister's statement that the government would enforce women's entry was unfortunate, he added.
Nair Service Society (NSS) general secretary G Sukumaran Nair expressed the hope that the government and Devaswom Board would take a wise decision in favour of devotees and without harming the traditions of Sabarimala. His response was conveyed through a press release after the Supreme Court decision to hear the reviw petitions in open court.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala welcomed the Supreme Court decision to hear the review petitions in open court and said that in light of the court judgement, the government should give up its obstinacy to implement women's entry to Sabarimala during the mandalam-makaravilakk season.
The date which the court set for hearing is 22 January by which the mandalam-makaravilakku season will be over, and the court's refusal to grant the requested stay to the earlier order of granting women entry, is generally read to mean that it can be enforced.