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All-party meet fails to break Sabarimala impasse, Oppn stages walkout

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Thiruvananthapuram: The all-party meet to discuss the entry of women in menstruating ages at Sabarimala temple failed to yield any constructive result on Thursday as the Congress and BJP walked out of the meeting called by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The opposition parties made a demand for putting off the implementation of the apex court order till January 22, when the review petitions against the verdict are slated to come up for hearing.

Rejecting the demand, CM Vijayan pointed out that since the court had not stayed its September 28 verdict, there was no other option but to allow women in the age group of 10-50 years during the upcoming pilgrim season.

According to an Indian Express report, CM Vijayan at the meeting suggested that entry of menstruating women could take place on fixed days. However, the Opposition disagreed and turned down the proposal.

Addressing a press conference later, Vijayan said, "Supreme Court clearly says that the September 28 verdict stands. It means that the entry of women should be allowed. The government cannot take any stand against this verdict. We respect the feelings of the devotees. We are bound to implement court verdict."

Announcing the walkout, Leader of the Opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala said the government was "adamant" in its stand to implement the court verdict and was not prepared for any compromise.

"This is a challenge to the believers," he said alleging that the government was trying to "weaken" the Sabarimala pilgrimage.

BJP state president PS Sreedharan Pillai also slammed the govt and called the meeting a “waste of time”.

Meanwhile, Vijayan will also meet representatives of the Pandalam Royal family, traditionally associated with the Sabarimala temple, and members of the 'thantri' (priest) family.

The temple is all set to open on November 17 as the two-month long ‘Mandala Makaravillakku’ pilgrim season commences. This season also attracts millions of devotees from all over the country.

Over 500 young women have registered for darshan in the online queue website of Kerala police last week.
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