UDF vows to make law to save Sabarimala tradition

Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) vowed to bring in a legislation to protect the customs of the Sabarimala temple if it returned to power in Kerala in the next assembly polls. At a meet here yesterday, the UDF leaders also affirmed to take steps to protect the rights of minorities, dalits, backward communities, if it was able to form the government in 2021. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala opined that these people were constantly being harassed by both the Central and state governments.

The Front believes that a legislation by the state government can bypass the Supreme Court order that allowed women of all groups to enter the Sabarimala temple.

The UDF would bring in a legislation when it formed the next government in the state, Chennithala said.

The state government had earlier passed such legislation in the case of Mullaperiyar issue. Chennithala also pointed out that the Tamil Nadu government too had passed a legislation against Supreme Court's order on jallikettu.

A UDF meeting on Monday noted that the front's massive victory in the Lok Sabha polls was primarily due to the faithful's opposition to the stand of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) on the Sabarimala issue.

The UDF had won all but one constituency in the state.


Concurrent list

Though the matters pertaining to faith are part of the Concurrent List of the Constitution, the state can make a legislation without contradicting the Centre, it was pointed out at the meet.

The leaders were sceptical about making a hasty decision without holding an extensive discussion on it. Those supporting the legislation pointed out that there were earlier demands for the Centre to issue an ordinance on Sabarimala. The general opinion at the meet was not to delay a decision on the legislation.

After former chief minister Oommen Chandy suggested that Monday's meet should take a call on the legislation, the rest of the leaders too agreed.

IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty opined that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan failed to understand that the communal harmony that prevailed in the state despite the Sabarimala agitation is the best example of the hold of renaissance values in the state. He was referring to the LDF's pitch that it was promoting progressive social norms by supporting the entry of women to the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.

Victory celebrations

The meet also decided to celebrate June 1 as 'Vijay Divas' at panchayat level. The UDF leadership meet will be held at all districts before June 10. An all-day meet of the UDF will be held at Neyyar on June 15.

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