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Will protect Sabarimala traditions: Congress


Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress on Friday termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's concern for the Sabarimala tradition "a bluff", and promised to bring in laws to protect the sanctity of the Lord Ayyappa shrine if voted to power.

"Modi is shedding nothing but crocodile tears," senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala said barely 12 hours after the Prime Minister announced that a new law would be brought.

"Now after raising passions over Sabarimala, he (Modi) says they (BJP) will bring in the necessary laws.

"The Congress had in 2016 itself, informed the Supreme Court that faith and tradition of the temple must be protected. It was only us who had taken such a stand," the Leader of Opposition told the media here.

The BJP did nothing when they could have easily brought fresh laws or even a Constitutional amendment to protect the traditions at the famed temple, he said.

He also took on the present Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

"Both the BJP and the CPI-M have the same position. In fact, state BJP president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai publicly announced that they see the Sabarimala issue as a golden opportunity."

Chennithala claimed that only the Congress "genuinely cares" for Sabarimala.

The apex court on September 28 last year ruled that women of all age groups should be allowed to pray inside the shrine, striking down the temple tradition of barring girls and women in the 10-50 age bracket.

While the right wing parties were up in arms over the verdict, the Vijayan government decided to abide by the apex court's ruling. The Kerala Police facilitated the visit of two women from the hitherto banned age group to pray at the temple.

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