In a major setback to the Kerala government which is facing the anger of devotees for implementing the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to worship at the Sabarimala temple, the tantris (supreme priests) have backed out of proposed talk with chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday.
“Let the government first file a review plea in the Supreme Court. Then we can talk” said tantri Mohanaru Kandarau. A tantri is considered the last word in rituals at the hilltop temple
He also insisted that allowing women to enter the Sabarimala temple would obliterate its divinity.
“Entry of women of productive age will affect temple customs and will destroy the divinity of the temple,” Kandarau said. “Deploying women cops will destroy temple customs.”
State police chief Loknath Behra had said 600 women cops will be deployed in hilltop temple
The Pandalam royal family also shares same concern as the priests.
Pathanamthitta district where Sabarimala temple is located is observing a shutdown on Sunday called by the BJP yuva morcha. Protests are spreading to more areas.
On Saturday, scion of the Pandalam royal family Sasikumar Verma who is the custodian of the temple and Sabarimala chief priest Rajeevaru Kandararu participated in a protest rally in Changanassery in Kottayam district.
The Left Front government in the state is being pushed onto the back foot over the Supreme Court ruling by political rivals. The Congress has made it clear that it will stand with the believers, while the BJP has alleged that the government is trying to undermine the religious beliefs of devotees.
Without naming anyone, said Kerala temple affairs minister Kadakampally Surendran blamed political rivals for the unrest over the apex court order.
“Eyeing votes, some parties are fanning trouble. Their mischief won’t succeed,” he said on Saturday.