THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a significant statement, the Devaswom minister Mr Kadkampally Surendran on Saturday said the LDF government was ready for a referendum on the entry women into Sabarimala temple. At a press conference here, Mr Kadkamapally said the government would initiate discussions with all stakeholders and seek their opinion on allowing entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50 years into the famous hill shrine.
“We are not going to impose our decision on the temple administration and devotees. Our idea is to evolve a consensus on the issue after wide ranging discussions. The discussions will revolve around the reasons for preventing the entry of women at a time when they are attaining laudable achievements and moving forward in all spheres of society,” the minister said.
The devaswom minister said that the outcome of the referendum, discussions and consultations with stakeholders will be conveyed to the Supreme Court which is currently looking into the matter. All channels will be used for seeking the opinion of devotees, social leaders, religions groups and political leadership through all party meetings and public debates.
The LDF government has taken a proactive stand on the issue. The previous UDF government had refused to interfere with the conventions at Sabarimala shrine. “The government will not intervene in such matters just as it does not interfere with Christian and Muslim places of worship,” the former chief minister Oommen Chandy had pointed out.
Replying to the Supreme Court’s query on whether the devaswom had the Constitutional right to prevent women’s entry at Sabarimala shrine, the former CM had also pointed out that devaswom system which governed Hindu temples started during monarchy. The government had so far interfered only in the administrative affairs of devaswom boards, he said and added that there was even a view that the government should keep off even devaswom activities.
Meanwhile, the high-level meeting presided over by Mr Kadakampally Surendran reviewed the functioning of devaswom boards. The minister said all boards had supported the government decision to route devaswom recruitments through PSC.
The minister asked the Travancore Devaswom Board to review the recently announced hike. “Even though the hike was announced during the UDF period, propaganda has been unleashed holding us responsible for it. Such campaigns on social networking sites are being deliberately carried out to fan emotions against our government. However, people will see through their designs,” he added....