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Have No Contract For Transporting Women to Sabarimala, Says Pinarayi Vijayan

Though CM Vijayan is firm on his stand that the SC order would be implemented by the state, the action on part of the police has come in for criticism.

Chandrakanth Viswanath | CNN-News18

Updated:November 23, 2018, 7:32 PM IST
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Have No Contract For Transporting Women to Sabarimala, Says Pinarayi Vijayan
File photo of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
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Thiruvananthapuram: On being asked why women were unable to visit the Sabarimala shrine despite the SC order clearing the decks for them, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state government does not have a "contract for transporting women to Sabarimala".

“We have no contract for transporting women to Sabarimala. If there are women who are ready to go to Sabarimala following the SC order, they can go. The only thing left before the government is to provide security to those (willing). The government is not taking any action to transport women there. You know well that if the government had such a thing in mind, it would not have been difficult. We don't have such an intention. It is the case of devotees. There can be devotees who wish to go. There can be those who don't want to go. It is their matter,” Vijayan made the comments at News18's Rising Kerala conclave in the city.

For the international media which documented the daunting task of the state and its head while tackling the challenge of an extraordinary deluge, the Sabarimala women entry is emerging as a bigger challenge.

Though the Chief Minister is firm on his stand that the SC order would be implemented by the state, the action on part of the police has come in for criticism. The CM is aware of this as the High Court, on a daily basis, is pulling up the police for its actions. “There is a lot of misinformation on Sabarimala. The prohibitory order in Sabarimala is not the one which prevents a group of more than four people. People are going to Sabarimala shrine in groups. There is no ban on the chanting of Sarana (prayer). The prohibitory order is to prevent protest marches. There should not be any hindrances there," he said.

The CM said his government is fully committed to implementing the SC order.

“Those who now accuse us of making 'hasty decisions’ in Sabarimala, would term us as being worthless if the court says anything against us for not implementing the order. We are not here to be branded as incompetent," he said.

Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister had to meet Governor P Sathasivam following the complaints from the leaders of various political parties who pointed out the issues related to the hill shrine, especially the amenities for the pilgrims visiting the Sabarimala temple, as the two-month season started on November 16. The two dignitaries also discussed complaints about police action and the possibility of lifting the restrictions imposed through Section 144, according to a statement released by the Governor's office.

In addition to this, the Governor also highlighted the grievance expressed by Pon Radhakrishnan, Union Minister of State for Finance and Shipping, at Sabarimala.

On Wednesday, Pon Radhakrishnan had arrived in a government vehicle at the base camp on Nilakkal where he had an altercation with Superintendent of Police Yatish Chandra who told him that only the minister's car could be allowed and not the entourage of cars along with him.

According to official figures, while five lakh pilgrims visited the temple during the opening week in the last season, this time the figure is less than two lakhs. The drop in the number of pilgrims is affecting the income too. However, the Chief Minister is optimistic. “The number of pilgrims is increasing. It is natural that the number is less during the initial days of pilgrimage. It happens every year. There will be a surge of pilgrims soon," he said.

| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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