Sabarimala tantri says no relevance of talks with government; protests continue

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The Kerala governments move to hold talks with Thazhamon tantries, the head priests of the Sabarimala Temple, on the Supreme Court verdict on entry of women into the The Pandalam royals, the erstwhile rulers associated with the Lord Ayyappa temple, also said there was no point in holding discussions now as the CPI(M)-led LDF government had already taken a decision to implement the top court order. Meanwhile, protests by devotees of Lord Ayyappa, demanding the retaining of the age-old tradition, rituals and faith of the hill shrine, continued in several parts of the state. There were reports that the government invited the tantri family and the members of Pandalam royals for a discussion with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here Monday. Kandararu Mohanaru, one of the three tantries, and Sasikumar Varma, a member of the Pandalam royal family, said there was no relevance of holding talks with the government right now as they were not ready for a review against the apex court order. On September 28, 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. There had been restrictions imposed on the entry of women belonging to the age group of 10-50 in the hill shrine as part of its centuries-old tradition. We will go for a review petition. Let us know the result of the review. We can hold discussion with authorities after knowing views of the Pandalam royal family also in this regard, Mohanaru said in Chengannur. The tantri also took exception to the governments move to deploy women police personnel at sannidhanam, the temple complex, and said it would amount to violation of rituals and traditions of the hill shrine. Echoing the same sentiments, Sasikumar Varma said the royal familys stand on the issue was very clear. The Supreme Court verdict is wrong. It is violation of customs and traditions of the Lord Ayyappa shrine.But the government is for permitting women into the shrine without going for any review. So there is no point in holding talks with them now, he said. The CPI(M)-led LDF government opened the doors for dialogue in view of mounting protests by Ayyappa devotees across the state against its decision to implement the court verdict without going for a review. Both the opposition Congress and BJP had also come out openly against the LDF governments stand and stated very clearly that they were with the believers. Hundreds of Ayyappa devotees, especially women, Sunday took part in namajapa (chanting the hymns of Lord Ayyppa) rallies at Tripunithura in Ernakulam and Tirunakkara in Kottayam districts, demanding the safeguarding of sanatana dharma, the tradition of Hinduism. In Tripunithura, the faithful started the march from a temple dedicated to Lord Dharma Sastha, an incarnation of Lord Ayyappa, at Tamarakulangara in the morning. Chanting the swamiye saranam Ayyappa mantras, the devotees marched through the main roads and ended the procession at the famed Poornathrayeesa Temple there.