Pandalam, a municipal town in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, will be witness to a protest led by the Pandalam royal family on Tuesday, against the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple, which they claim will ‘destroy’ the promise they made to Lord Ayyappan.
Ever since the Supreme Court of India pronounced its judgement, various Hindu groups had come out in protest, claiming that the verdict is breaking the age-old beliefs of the religion to satisfy the vested interests of a few sections of the people.
In a statement on Sunday, the Ayyappa Dharma Samrakshana Samiti stated that as a show of solidarity urging the SC to review its verdict, it has been decided that the Samiti, under the leadership of the Pandalam royal family, will observe October 2 as Ayyappa Dharma Samrakshana day.
“On the same day, at 3 pm, all the believers will gather at the Medical Mission Junction in Pandalam from where they will march to the Pandalam Ayyappa temple, where the ornaments of the deity are preserved,” read the statement.
At the temple, the future course of action against the verdict will be discussed.
Also present at the protest will be members of the Pandalam royal family, members of the People for Dharma movement, members of the Right to Wait campaign, various members of thanthri families, various Hindu groups and as well as devotees of Lord Ayyappa.
According to the legend, Lord Ayyappan was once a prince of Pandalam, after he was adopted by the Pandalam King.
Talking to TNM, Advocate Sanku T Das, who will be one of the speakers at Tuesday’s protest, said that when Ayyappan went to Sabarimala to meditate, the Pandalam king had promised that he will visit the lord once every year.
“Lord Ayyappan had given the Pandalam king certain rules to follow while visiting him, such as what to wear and who all can go to meet him and so,” said advocate Sanku. He goes on to say that the verdict of the Supreme Court which allows women of all ages to enter the temple will break the promise made by the Pandalam King and that the protest on Tuesday is to show the grief of the royal family for not being able to keep their promise.
Meanwhile, the Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP) in Kerala has announced that it will block all state and national highways across the state between 11 am and 12 pm to protest against the SC verdict.
VHP has urged the protestors to organise and assemble with their families as much as possible in the various centres assigned for protest in all the districts. And for those who can’t come with their families have been asked to go to the roads and shout prayers to Ayyappa.
“The protests should be peaceful. The roads of Kerala must be filled with prayers to Lord Ayyappa,” read the statement by VHP. The statement also said that ambulances and vehicles that come with patients and sick people must be allowed to pass by.
“If you are travelling in a car between 11 am and 12 pm, you must stop the car aside and shout prayers for Lord Ayyappa,” reads the statement issued by VHP. “For a Hindu in Kerala, this is a fight that has to be won,” the statement added.
Ending a decade-long battle, the Supreme Court on September 28, in a landmark judgement, lifted the ban on the entry of women into the famous Sabarimala temple in Kerala. The court observed that physiological and biological factors can't be given legitimacy if they don't pass the muster of conditionality, meaning women and men are equal.
In a majority judgement, the five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra ruled, observed that Article 25, the right to practice religion, is applicable to both men and women.