Sabarimala row: Centre has no plans to bring ordinance, says Maneka Gandhi

The Kerala temple remains on edge as protests continue

Maneka Gandhi had earlier welcomed the apex court judgment on Sabarimala Maneka Gandhi had earlier welcomed the apex court judgment on Sabarimala

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said the Union government had no plans to bring an ordinance on Sabarimala, like how it cleared an ordinance on Jallikattu, to nullify the order of the Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court that allowed women of all ages to enter the hill shrine in Kerala.

"Why should the Union government bring an ordinance? It is already a court decision, isn't it? Yes, I had welcomed the judgment. I don't want to say anything more at this stage," said Maneka to THE WEEK. 

Earlier, praising the apex court judgment on Sabarimala, the minister had said, "It is a wonderful judgment that opens up the way forward for Hinduism to become even more inclusive and not a property of one caste or one sex."

Meanwhile, protests in Kerala over the apex court's verdict intensified on Friday after a woman journalist and an activist, who expressed their inclination to visit the Sabarimala temple, trekked the hill with police escort. They, however, returned after facing protests from devotees, who blocked the women at Valiya Nadappandhal, located a few metres away from the 18 sacred steps leading to the sanctum sanctorum. 

The Centre had on Thursday asked Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to tighten security amid intensifying protests in these states against the Supreme Court order. "All necessary precautionary measures may be taken to maintain law and order. Appropriate security arrangements may be made to prevent any untoward incident," said an advisory by the Union home ministry. 

CPI(M) MP from Palakkad, M.B. Rajesh, said the Kerala government honours the concerns of the devotees, but the top court's order would be implemented in the state in its letter and spirit. Rajesh said the state government doesn't fear any backlash from the Hindu communities in the state against the way the court order was implemented. 

"There was no haste on the government's part. The Hindus in the state have already known the duplicity and double standards adopted by the Congress and the BJP in Kerala. The national leaderships of both these parties, even today, support the apex court's verdict. In fact, the BJP's mouthpiece in Kerala—the Janmabhumi—even had a front page editorial supporting the Supreme Court's order. All of a sudden, the BJP has changed its position to capitalise on the situation in the state," he said.

Rajesh said neither the BJP nor the Congress had reacted when the Supreme Court was hearing the case for the past 12 years. "If they were so concerned about Sabarimala, they should have announced their stand on the issue and should have been parties in the case," he said.