Sabarimala Row: Talks between TDB and Royal Family of Pandalam fails, next meeting on Friday

The talks between the Travancore Devasom Board, which administers the Sabarimala Temple and the Royal Family of Pandalam failed over filing a review petition against the Supreme Court’t judgement allowing women to enter the shrine. Sasikumar Varma, President of the Managing Committee of Pandalam Palace said that the Royal Family persuaded the TDB to file a review petition, failing which, they walked out of the meeting as their demands were not met, according to IE report.

“We’re upset that they’re unwilling to discuss it today. Meeting wasn’t satisfactory,” said Varma. Again, another meeting has been scheduled on Friday, and the next course of legal action would be discussed, including the review petition, said the report. The Royal Family of Pandalam along with the family of the thantri (priest) Monday expressed willingness to attend the meeting. Earlier the Board had accepted the apex court’s order, however, amid the outcry, it has diluted its stand. Board president and CPM leader A Padmakumar had said the board is torn between the to court’s order and the agitation raised against it protecting temple traditions, said the report.

Christian Connect

There is a Christian connection, too, to the temple. A large number of devotees visit the Arthunkal church dedicated to St Andrew and St Sebastian at Alappuzha on their way back from Sabarimala. At the church, many of them remove the sacred beads they wear around their neck through their 41-day fast. Ponds at the church are cleaned weeks before the annual pilgrimage begins.

Ordinance

Lok Sabha MP Anto Antony, who represents Pathanamthitta constituency, under which the Sabarimala hill shrine falls, urged the Centre on Tuesday to issue an ordinance to find a way around the Supreme Court’s order lifting the ban on women restricted to enter the temple. While in Erumeli, Antony attended a dharna organised by women’s outfits of Congress, Indian Union Muslim League and Kerala Congress (M) in protest against the Supreme Court verdict.

The MP told the news agency PTI, “The Sabarimala temple will open for monthly pooja tomorrow evening. We all are very concerned. This time, the centuries’ old pilgrimage to Sabarimala, which is a festival of all faiths, is in the shadow of conflicts. Unfortunately, I haven’t got any response from the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi so far.” He also said the apex court’s ruling has met with opposition from everyone including people of different faith.