BJP to undertake Rath Yatra to save Sabarimala temple

Thiruvananthapuram: The BJP in Kerala Sunday announced a ‘Rath Yatra‘ to save the customs and traditions of Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, intensifying the agitation against the entry of all women into the shrine, a day after its Chief Amit Shah extended the party’s support to devotees.

The yatra under the auspices of NDA would begin on 8 November from Kasargod and culminate at Pathanamthitta on 13 November, BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai told reporters here.

He said, “The party has decided to continue protests against the arrest of Ayyappa devotees who participated in the agitation over Sabarimala issue.” Shah had Saturday extended party’s full support to the agitation of Ayyappa devotees across the state, while addressing a function in Kannur.

BJP workers would observe a one-day fast in front of the DGP office here on 30 October. Attacking the CPI (M)-led LDF government over its decision to implement the Supreme Court verdict allowing the entry of women of all ages into the hill temple without considering the sentiments of devotees, Pillai said, “it has become a war between believers and atheists.”

Meanwhile, a group of prominent personalities, including former ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair and former Travancore Devaswom Board President and KPCC member G Raman Nair, joined the BJP in the presence of Amit Shah here Saturday night. They were given party membership card, BJP said in its facebook post. Former State DGP T P Senkumar held a meeting with Shah, it said.

Besides, Pandalam Royal family members Sasikumar Varma and Narayana Varma met the BJP Chief and held discussions, it added. The Ayyappa temple had witnessed high drama with around a dozen women in 10-50 age group being prevented from entering the temple by protesting devotees after the doors were opened for all women between  17-22 October, following the Apex court judgement.