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Devaswom Board 'Ready to Compromise’ to End Sabarimala Deadlock, To Discuss Solution Today

Travancore Devaswom Board president A Padmakumar said the board has always taken a stand that it was ready for any sort of compromise to end the protest and bring normalcy.


Updated:October 19, 2018, 12:17 AM IST
Devaswom Board 'Ready to Compromise’ to End Sabarimala Deadlock, To Discuss Solution Today
Police lathi-charge on the protesters after they opposed the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala (File Photo: PTI)

Amid mounting protest in Kerala against the entry of women of menstrual age into Sabarimala temple, the Travancore Devaswom Board will meet on Friday in Thiruvananthapuram to find an amicable solution to the row. Ahead of the meeting, the TDB, which administers the hill shrine, on Thursday said it was ready for any sort of compromise to end the stand-off.

TDB president A Padmakumar said the board has always taken a stand that it was ready for any sort of compromise to end the protest and bring normalcy. "We are not for any politics over the issue," he told reporters.

Seeking to reach out to devotees opposing entry of women of all age groups, he asked if the protests would end if the TDB files a review plea in the Supreme Court against its verdict. "We're ready to compromise. Will the protesters call off agitation if the board files review petition? Padmakumar said on Thursday evening.

The meeting is being held after consensus eluded a crucial meeting of stakeholders called by the board last week to resolve the vexed issue of entry of women of all age groups into the shrine in the wake of the apex court judgment.

However, TDB, which manages over 1,200 temples in the state, including the Lord Ayyappa Temple, had said talks with the stakeholders would continue to find a solution.

Last week's meeting attended by various stakeholders of the shrine, including temple tantri (head priest), the Pandalam royal family, 'Ayyappa Seva Samajam' and 'Yoga Kshema Sabha', had failed to arrive at an agreement as the TDB stuck to its stand of not going for a review plea.

Representatives of the Pandalam royal family had walked out as TDB refused to concede their demand to take a decision on filing the review plea Tuesday itself.

However, the TDB president had said the meeting was not a "failure" and the board wanted to settle the issue and go ahead with the talks with the people concerned again.

The Sabarimala temple, located on the mountain ranges of the ecologically fragile Western Ghats, opened on Wednesday for the first time after the recent apex court order, allowing entry of women of all age groups there.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday blamed the protests against women’s entry into the Lord Ayyappa shrine on the RSS, saying encouraging such agitation would lead to “banishment of backward classes from places like Sabarimala”.

CNN-News18 crew covering the Sabarimala protests was attacked by a mob at the Nilakkal base camp, the main gateway to the hill shrine, in a cowardly tactic designed to intimidate women devotees ahead of the temple’s opening at 5pm.

Women journalists from other organisations too were heckled and their vehicles smashed. Most of the attacks began in the form of "vehicle checks" by protesters to ensure that young women are not inside. Chaos and mayhem ruled supreme on the road leading from Nilakkal to Pamba in the foothills from where the devotees start the arduous trek to Sabarimala, as activists of Hindu fringe groups fought pitched battles with police, leaving many injured and bleeding.

The shrine will close on October 22 after the five-day monthly puja during the Malayalam month of Thulam. ​

(With PTI inputs)

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