Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 15: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said that we respect the feelings of the Lord Ayyappa devotees but we are bound to implement the Supreme Court court verdict of allowing girls and women aged between 10 and 50 to pray at the Sabarimala temple.
“Supreme Court clearly says that the September 28 verdict stands. It means that the entry of women should be allowed. Govt cannot take any stand against this verdict”, the Chief Minister told media.
“We respect the feelings of the devotees. We are bound to implement court verdict”, he added.
Earlier in a day, Vijayan had also called an all-party meeting to discuss the upcoming pilgrimage season after the Supreme Court declined to stay its order allowing all women to pray at the shrine.
The doors of Lord Ayyappa shrine will open for Mandala Pooja Mahotsavam on November 16 and shut on December 27.
The Apex Court on Tuesday ordered an open court hearing in the 49 review petitions challenging its September 28 judgement.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had said that it will hear the petitions on January 22.
The temple had witnessed massive protests between October 17 and 22, after it opened for the first time following the apex court’s ruling allowing the hitherto banned age group of girls and women to enter the Lord Ayyappa shrine.
Recently, also when the Lord Ayyappa temple opened on November 6 at 5 p.m. for the special one-day session, there were violent protests by devotees after they found out women in the 10-50 age group approaching the shrine.
Though, the pilgrimage season in Sabarimala failed to make history as women in the 10-50 age group were kept away by protests against their entry despite the top court order.