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Sabarimala row: Protests against SC verdict continue

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram 

Members of the Opposition and in Friday staged demonstrations to express solidarity with Ayyappa devotees even as the CPI, the key partner in the CPI-M led LDF, said there was an attempt to "politicise" the order on

The said its protest would not be confined to and would expand to other South Indian states.

said, "LDF was not against believers. The government was bound to implement the order and it was doing only that."

"There was an attempt to politicse the issue," he added.

Meanwhile, the Friday said work on restoring various pilgrim facilities at Pamba,the foothills of Lord Ayappa at Sabarimala, was progressing fast.

The work was being carried out by and they have been asked to complete it before November 15, an official release from the office of Pinarayi Vijayan said here.

Tata Projects have been entrusted with restoring basic infrastructure like roads and bridges and also construction of pilgrim facilities at Nilackal, the new base camp of the hill shrine.

Administrative sanctionto the tune of Rs 200 crore has been given to restore and repair roads to

This years annual pilgrimage at the famous Lord Ayappa temple begins on November 17.

Most of the roads toPamba, the base camp for pilgrims was virtually washed away in floods that ravaged the state in August last.

As the protest over the issue hotted up, an turned supporter Thulashi courted controversy for his 'unsavoury remark against women at a meeting organised by BJP at

He allegedly said that women on the banned age group should be ripped in half.

A group of activists, including several women staged a dharna in front of an office of the Travancore Devaswom Board, that manages the hill shrine, with the slogan of 'Protect Temple'.

Inaugurating the 'devotees gathering,' KPCC Campaign Committee K Muraleedharan, MLA, said the state government should file a review petition against the apex court verdict to allow entry of women of all ages into

Taking a dig at the BJP, which has also launched a protest march over the issue, Muraleedharan said the matter could be resolved if the Centre brings in a law to restrict the Court from interfering in temple customs and tradition.

Meanwhile, the 'Sabarimala Protection' long-march led by BJP passed through the neighbouring district.

The march would culminate in the state capital on October 15.

Speaking on the occasion, BJP P S Sreedharan Pillai criticised the CPI-M led LDF government's decision to implement the top court order.

He said the saffron party was with the believers and there would be no compromise on that.

The party would expand the stir over the issue to South Indian states, from which lakhs of Ayyappa devotees visit the hill shrine during the annual pilgrimage season, he added.

Similarily, a protest dharna was held in front of the secretariat by members of Pandalam Royal family, associated with Lord Ayappa demanding a law to preserve customs and traditions of the hill shrine.

Cutting across political lines, leaders V S Sivakumar, MLA, and Suresh Gopi, actor-turned-BJP Rajya Sabha member were among those who participated in the dharna, organised under the banner of ''

Speaking on the occasion, member Sasikumara Varma said customs and traditions of Lord Ayyappa Temple cannot be destroyed with a single court order.

He also sought to know why there was an 'infringement' on the customs of the alone.

"Is it because the hill shrine has become famous?" he asked.

The sit-in dharna by activists of the 'Save Sabarimala Forum' and 'Adivasi Samrakshana Samithi', demanding steps to protect the tradition and rituals of the hill shrine continued for the fifth day at Nilackal in district.

The opposition Congress, BJP and various Hindu outfits have launched protests, demanding that the file a review petition against the September 28 top court order.

But the has maintained that it would not go in for a review of the ruling of the

The LDF also alleged that the ongoing stir over the was to "destabilise' the government.

On September 28, a five-judge bench, headed by then Dipak Misra, lifted the ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, October 12 2018. 22:30 IST