New Delhi :
The recent Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala is against the devotees and central government should make necessary amendments to protect the rights of the believers, Kerala Varma Raja, head of Pandalam royal family Sunday said here.
The Pandalam royal family for ages has been closely interlinked with the lore of Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity at Sabarimala. During the annual mandalam festival at the temple between November-January, the male head of the family has privileges to perform certain ceremonies.
“Pandalam royal family follows the rights and rituals of Sabarimala temple. As far as the verdict is concerned, it is against the devotees. We have moved the Supreme Court against this. We will take appropriate step after analysing the outcome of the petition,” Raja told media in a press meet.
Raja was here to take part in the protest march organised by Ayyappa Dharma Protection Committee against the September 28 verdict of the five-judge constitution bench, which had in its 4:1 verdict lifted the ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine.
The Constitution bench had said that banning the entry of women into the shrine is gender discrimination and that the practice violates rights of Hindu women.
The royal family head said the issue was not political and he was not siding with any political party.
He urged that the Centre to make necessary amendments in the law against the apex court decision.
“This is not a political issue. Not siding with any political party. It’s a custom, tradition followed by thousands of believers. Central government should make necessary amendments in law with regard to this matter,” he said.
Earlier in the day, while inaugurating the protest march at Jantar Mantar, he asked the Kerala Chief Minister to consider the sentiments of the believers.
“Chief Minister must consider the sentiments of the believers. The President of India and the Centre must interfere in the matter,” he urged.
The BJP-led NDA had organised the protest against the LDF government’s decision not to file a review petition against the Supreme Court’s verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala Temple by lifting the ban on those between 10-50 years.
The state has been rocked by protests by Congress, BJP and Hindu outfits against the government’s move to implement the apex court order.
Meanwhile in Kerala, amid continuing protests on the Sabarimala issue, a temple body which manages the Lord Ayyappa shrine Sunday invited various stakeholders for a meeting to discuss ‘various aspects’, including preparations for the annual pilgrimage season, beginning next month.
As Various Hindu outfits and Lord Ayyappa devotees have been staging protests over the last few days all over Kerala against implementation of the Supreme Court order, the call for talks is considered an attempt for a consensus.
The three-month-long annual ‘Mandalam-Makaravilakku’ pilgrimage season of the Sabarimala Temple will begin on November 17.