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On the eve of the opening of the Sabarimala Temple for the two month long pilgrim season, an all party meeting convened by the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to discuss several contentious issues ended up in acrimony and a walkout by the Congress and the BJP.  The meeting was called to discuss several issues including the tense situation in and around the temple following the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that overturned a century old tradition and allowed women of all ages to visit the temple. Earlier, women of menstruating age were not allowed.

Leaders of both the Congress, which the is the main opposition party and the BJP accused the CPI(M) Left government of being rigid and unwilling to hear their suggestions and termed the meeting a “sheer waste of time”, while Vijayan said that as the CM, he duty bound to abide by and implement the SC order. Last Tuesday, the apex court while agreeing to take up 49 revision petitions on the matter on January 22 next year did not put a stay on its September 28 order. Effectively, that means that women will be free to enter the temple.

When the temple had opened for the first time after the SC September verdict on October 17, there were large scale protests by anti-women entry group who even physically prevented a handful of women who had tried to go towards the temple. Nearly 4000 people were arrested and cases were registered.

Police are bracing to battle it out with protestors as nearly 1000 young women have registered online for darshan.

—India Legal Bureau

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