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RSS stopped women from entering Sabarimala, turned shrine into war zone: Kerala CM

Kochi: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday pinned the blame on the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) for chaos and protests outside the Sabarimala Temple and held it responsible for preventing the women in the age group of 10-50 from entering the holy shrine.

Vijayan, while maintaining that the state government did its best to implement the Supreme Court order which allowed women of all ages to enter the holy shrine, said that the RSS turned the temple into a ”war zone” during the brief period the famed Lord Ayappa temple was opened for the pilgrims.

”Kerala government made it clear in front of the Supreme Court that it will implement the verdict. The government arranged all facilities. Neither the government nor the police tried to block the devotees. The RSS tried to make Sabarimala Temple a war zone,” Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan told ANI.

”Protesters tried to check vehicles, attacked women devotees and media persons. It was the first time in the history of Kerala that this type of attitude was shown towards the media,” the CM said.

The remarks from Vijayan came hours after the sanctum sanctorum of the famed temple was closed around 10 PM on Monday – the day that saw five women making an unsuccessful effort to pray at the hill temple, where tradition had barred women aged between 10 and 50.

Since Wednesday, Kerala had been on the boil after the temple opened for its customary monthly pujas, the first time after the September 28 verdict by the top court which overturned a centuries-old practice that barred women of menstrual age from entering the hill temple.

Celibate deity Lord Ayyappa is worshipped at the Sabarimala temple where the last pilgrim went up the hill around 7 PM on Monday.

None of the dozens of women who tried to have a darshan in the last five days succeeded in entering the temple for prayers as thousands of devotees were determined not to allow them.

The police appeared most relieved for the time being as they had a tough time in trying to implement the apex court`s orders in the face of strong protests which at times turned violent.

Te revered Hindu temple is set to open again on November 17.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday set November 13 as the date for hearing a large number of petitions seeking a review of the top court verdict that allowed entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala Temple.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul had considered the submissions of lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara on Monday that his petition seeking review of the constitutional bench judgement be listed for urgent hearing.

Nedumpara was mentioning the petition filed by National Ayyappa Devotees Association.

A five-judge constitution bench by a ratio of 4:1 had held that women of all age groups should be allowed entry inside Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple.

The court had on October 9 declined an urgent hearing on Nedumpara’s plea which had contended that the five-judge Constitution bench verdict lifting the ban was “absolutely untenable and irrational”.

The bench had said that the review petitions could only be taken up after the Dussehra vacation, adding that in any case, it will be heard in chamber and not in open court.

The petition filed by Shylaja Vijayan, president, National Ayyappa Devotees Association through Nedumpara, had submitted that, “Faith cannot be judged by scientific or rationale reasons or logic”.