THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said on Thursday that prohibitory orders issued under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code at Sabarimala are not against Ayyappa devotees, but to check the misuse of microphone and infiltration of anti-socials like Valsan Thillankeri who flock to the hill shrine in the guise of devotees.
According to the minister, there is no alternative but to continue the prohibitory orders. Answering to questions in the Assembly, the minister further added that the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) is an independent body and the government had not tried to intrude into its day-to-day affairs at any time.
“The state government is not adamant on women entry at Sabarimala. “At the same time, the government has the Constitutional duty to implement the Supreme Court verdict. If the apex court reverses its order while hearing the batch of review petitions on January 22, the government is bound to implement the same.”
Replying to a question by P C George, the minister added that there is no oddity in serving a memo to ‘thantri’ of Sabarimala shrine as ‘he is one among the 6,000-odd employees of the TDB and is obliged to follow the rights and duties listed in the TDB manual.’ “It is not the government that had served the memo to the ‘thantri’ but the TDB,” said Kadakampally.
Earlier, a war of words broke out between the treasury and Opposition bench as M Swaraj MLA alleged that it was the nexus between the Congress and the BJP that created problems at Sabarimala. Countering the same, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said though it has been stated that the prohibitory orders are meant for anti-socials, it is the same government that handed over the police megaphone to the so-called anti-social.
He also demanded to withdraw the alleged contract that has been given to RSS-affiliated Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam for ‘annadanam’.