Sabarimala 
Kerala

Tantri family, Pandalam Palace not to attend meeting called by CM

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 7: The representatives of Tantri (Chief Priest) family and Pandalam Palace, which is famed for its kinship with Lord Ayyappa, have jointly decided not to attend the conciliation meeting called by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday.

The meeting was called in the wake of state-wide protest against the Supreme Court verdict allowing the entry of women of all ages to the world famous Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala. The sources of Tantri family and Pandalam Palace told that they have decided not to attend the meeting and that talks can be conducted after filing of a Review Petition against the SC verdict by the State Government in this regard.

"If the Government decides to implement the SC verdict, then what is the relevance of a conciliation meeting," Sabarimala Tantri Kantararu Mohanaru told newspersons on Sunday. The Government decision to deploy women police personnel is also a violation of the temple custom, he added.

However, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said he was not aware of such a meeting called by the Chief Minister. Since the Tantri family understands the government's stand, there is no need of such a meeting, he added.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the Court verdict can be implemented with the support of the Tantri family and the Pandalam Palace to avoid confrontation with the Ayyappa devotees.

Earlier, Vijayan categorically said the state government will not file the review petition and will implement the SC verdict. Following this, Travancore Devasom Board (TDB), which is the custodian of the temple, also decided not to file the petition leading to widespread protest from devotees.

Though TDB initially planned to file the review petition, it withdrew the decision following the Chief Minister's adamant stand on the issue. Meanwhile, the Tantri family and the Pandalam Palace have clarified that they will move a review petition in SC with the support of Nair Service Society (NSS), a socio cultural body in Hindu society.

The temple follows a custom of allowing the entry of girls below 10 years and women over 50 years. However, the SC allowed the entry for women in all ages, leading to the protest from the devotees.UNI