Talks to break Sabarimala deadlock end in failure

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Consensus elusive as govt and Opposition parties stick to their positions

The State government’s attempt on Thursday to end the impasse over implementing the Supreme Court’s verdict granting entry for all women into Sabarimala through talks with the Opposition, the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam and the tantris failed.

No consensus could be reached at the all-party meeting as the government and the Opposition stuck to their guns.

Briefing reporters, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government was not for diluting the Supreme Court verdict and the sole option before it is to provide entry for all women.

Entry on specific days

Mr. Vijayan mooted a plan for women’s entry into Sabarimala on specific days during the festival season.

He said the government would hold discussions with the stakeholders to explore various options. The government was committed to protecting the interest of the faithful, he said but reiterated that constitutional values were not above fundamental rights. He said the Left Democratic Front governments in 1996, 2006 and now had implemented the Kerala High Court order that barred entry of women aged between 10 and 50 years. It never went on appeal against the verdict.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the United Democratic Front walked out of the meeting as the government refused to respond to their suggestion to seek more time from the Supreme Court and put in abeyance the implementation of the verdict till it heard the review petitions on January 22, 2019. He described the meeting as a farce and alleged that the government was prejudiced.

BJP president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai termed the meeting a farce and accused the CPI(M) of wreaking vengeance on the faithful.

Tantri (head priest) Kandararu Mohanararu said that they raised their concerns over women’s entry but Mr. Vijayan had expressed his limitations. The talks were cordial but did not yield any positive outcome, he said.

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