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    Will abide by SC order on Sabarimala ornaments: Minister

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    Thiruvananthapuram: A day after the Supreme Court asked the Kerala government to suggest steps to secure the ornaments at the Sabarimala temple, Devasoms Minister Kadakampally Surendran on Thursday said the state will abide by whatever the court orders in the matter.

    "Who said that the state government is going to take over the sacred jewellery? Never has such a thing been said. What has the state government got to do with it? We will do what the Supreme Court says," Surendran told the media here.

    The apex court on Wednesday heard the matter arising out of an alleged dispute between two branches of the erstwhile Pandalam royal family, which is the custodian of the sacred ornaments.

    A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana and comprising Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari had asked senior advocate Jaideep Gupta, representing the Kerala government, to come up with suggestions to safeguard the ornaments. The matter will come up for hearing on February 7.

    The court had said that the jewellery did not belong to the erstwhile royal family but Lord Ayyappa.

    It had noted that there was a dispute between the family members, and asked why the court should not allow the ornaments to be kept in the safe custody of a responsible person.

    The bench had then asked the state to examine any possibility of mischief in the matter and report back to the court. The state had asked for more time to frame a separate law for the temple administration.

    Meanwhile, Narayana Varma, a member of the erstwhile royals, said on Thursday that there were no issues at present with regard to the security of the sacred ornaments. "The ornaments are kept under security and there are no issues involved," said Varma.

    On the other hand, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala maintained on Thursday that the Kerala government should ensure adherence to temple traditions in the matter.

    "These ornaments are in the possession of the erstwhile royals who hold an exalted status vis-a-vis Lord Ayyappa, as per legend. Everything associated with the temple derives from this fact. Hence, there should be no change in traditions or customs. If there are any issues within the family, it can be always be resolved through various means. The state government should not do anything to change traditions," Chennithala told the media here.

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