Sabarimala row: TDB calls tantris, Pandalam royals for talks

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The Travancore Dewasom Board (TDB) has called another meeting on Tuesday with Sabarimala tantri (supreme priest), Pandalam’s erstwhile royal family and Ayyappa Sewa Sangh.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is spearheading the campaign against the Supreme Court order, has rejected the talks offer. However, the tantri and erstwhile Pandalam royals said they will announce their decision later.

“We are confident the issue will be sorted out amicably. We will hear all stakeholders patiently. We don’t want to make it a political issue. At the same time we will convince them about our limitations,” said A Padmakumar, TDB president.

With just three days left for the temple to open for monthly poojas (Oct 17) mass protests have left the state government worried.

“We don’t expect much from the TDB president who is a puppet in the hands of the ruling CPI(M),” said BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai. He said the government had wasted enough time by challenging devotees and making provocative statements.

The march, which criss crossed the southern districts of the state, would conclude before the state Secretariat, the administrative hub here on Monday.

Hundreds of activists of Antarashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP) also took out a rally here, urging the state and union governments to address the concerns of devotees of Lord Ayyappa.

AHP president Pravin Togadia called for a hartal in the state on October 18 if the Left government implements the apex court order.

“We demand that the state government file a review petition in the Supreme Court. Till that petition is pending, they should not implement the court order,” he said addressing the rally.

If the state fails to do so, the AHP would announce a hartal in Kerala on October 17, 10 pm to October 18, he said.

Warning that AHP would expand the agitation to other parts of the country, Togadia demanded that the Centre come out with an ordinance to overcome the apex court order.

A group of Yuva Morcha activists took out a march to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s residence at northern Kannur district.

Police blocked the agitators by putting up barricades a few kilometers away from the residence.

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.

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