Erumely: Lok Sabha MP Anto Antony, who represents Pathanamthitta constituency under which the Sabarimala hill shrine comes, on Tuesday urged the Centre to issue an ordinance to get around the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women in all age groups in the holy temple.
Antony was in Erumely, an important pilgrim centre linked to Lord Ayyappa faith, for inaugurating a dharna organised by women's outfits of Congress, Indian Union Muslim League and Kerala Congress (M) in protest against the Supreme Court verdict.
"The Sabarimala temple will open for monthly pooja tomorrow evening. We all are very concerned. This time, the centuries' old pilgrimage to Sabarimala, which is a festival of all faiths, is in the shadow of conflicts. The Apex Court verdict permitting women of all age groups into the shrine have been opposed by all including the people from other faiths," Antony told PTI after addressing the dharna.
The dharna, held in Erumely, a small town where a mosque named after a Muslim saint Vavar, considered a close friend of Lord Ayyappa, was attended by women from all faiths including Hindu, Christian and Muslim associated with the Congress-led UDF.
A visit to the Vavar mosque is an integral part of the pilgrimage to Sabarimala. Antony said an unprecedented situation has evolved in Sabarimala before commencing the annual pilgrim season next month.
"You see only one thing in the streets— protests by men, women and children against the Supreme Court verdict. This is the time for them to arrange facilities for welcoming crores of devotees visiting the hill shrine from the world over.
No such activities are done this time around. Instead, you see only the protests by our people — the hosts chanting Ayyappa mantra," he said. Urging the Centre to issue the ordinance, the Congress MP said he had written to prime minister Narendra Modi in this regard.
"I, as the MP representing the constituency in which Sabarimala temple and important pilgrim centres associated with it come, have urged the PM to issue the ordinance to stop entry of women of all age groups into the hill shrine, where "Lord Ayyappa's character is a 'Naishtika Brahmachari' (eternal celibate)," he said.
"Unfortunately, I haven't got any response from the prime minister so far," he lamented. Further, Antony said he was certain that the situation could be brought to normalcy if the Central government issued the ordinance to get around the Supreme Court verdict.
He said an ordinance can be brought in line with the one such legal step taken when the Supreme Court banned jallikattu, a bull-taming sport in Tamil Nadu.
"The Parliament later passed a law later to overcome the Supreme Court verdict on jallikattu," he said.
Kerala has been witnessing intense protests including prayer marches and mass rallies by Lord Ayyappa devotees and right-wing outfits against the implementation of the Apex court verdict.
On 28 September, a five-judge Constitution bench, headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, lifted the ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine.
Updated Date: Oct 16, 2018 15:54 PM