Women devotees attempt to enter Sabarimala temple on Oct 17, 2018. Image Source: IANS

Thiruvananthapuram, November 04 : Putting to bed speculation the LDF government has back-pedalled on its decision to implement the supreme court verdict lifting curbs on women’s entry in Sabarimala temple, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday told the state assembly that the CPI(M)-led state government would implement the apex court verdict.

He was responding to a question on the Sabarimala women entry issue from opposition UDF during question hour.

The Sabarimala verdict was not like the one on Jallikattu. The SC verdict allowing entry to women of all age groups into the hill shrine pertained to fundamental rights. The top court had observed that curbing women’s entry was unconstitutional and a violation of basic rights, the chief minister told the house.

Pooh-poohing the opposition UDF’s demand for a legislation to get around the SC verdict, Mr. Vijayan said that those vowing to enact a law to circumvent the Sabarimala verdict were hoodwinking the devotees.

The state government had received legal advice that it was not possible to circumvent the apex court verdict on the women entry issue through legislation, he added.

The chief minister’s comments could set the stage for another turbulent season of pilgrimage at Sabarimala beginning November 16.

Close on the heels of the LDF’s drubbing in the lok sabha polls, a CPI(M) fact-finding team had concluded that the Sabarimala controversy proved a major setback. This had led to speculation the LDF government would backtrack from its stubborn insistence on implementing the apex court verdict. However, the chief minister’s statement in the assembly should put to rest such speculation.

The impressive showing of the left front in the recently concluded assembly by-polls must have strengthened the LDF government’s resolve to press ahead with the decision to implement the verdict.

The supreme court had on September 28 set off a storm in Kerala by lifting the curbs on entry of women aged between 10 and 50 into the Sabarimala hill shrine.

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