Thiruvananthapuram: The 14-day session of the Kerala Assembly ended Thursday on a tumultuous note with ruling LDF members protesting the “communal wall” remark made by an Opposition MLA against the proposed “Wall of Women” initiative, resulting in a minor scuffle between members.
The scuffle, which ended after intervention of senior MLAs, broke out while Opposition legislators were staging a walkout after denial of permission for an adjournment motion on the “Wall of Women.”
The “Wall of Women” would be formed under the aegis of the state government on 1 January from the northern district of Kasargod to the southern most district of Thiruvananthapuram to demonstrate the secular and progressive mindset of the state.
While seeking permission for adjournment motion, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) MLA M K Muneer termed the government initiative of the “Wall of Women” a “communal wall” triggering heated protests from ruling LDF members. However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said history would throw those who oppose the wall to the waste bin.
“I don’t understand how the wall to remember the renaissance was considered as a ‘communal wall. This is not to argue but to create awareness among masses on the renaissance history of the state,” Vijayan told the Assembly.
Muneer, who refused to withdraw the comment even after strong protests erupted from ruling benches, said the “wall of women” was meant to please Vellappally Natesan and C P Sugathan. Natesan is the chief of Sree Narayana Dharma paripalana (SNDP) Yogam, a caste-based outfit and Sugathan, a Hindu Parliament leader.
Both the ruling and the opposition members continued their verbal duel even though Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan said unprecedented incidents were happening in the Assembly. The Speaker rejected the plea for the motion moved by Muneer following which a scuffle broke out when Opposition members were staging a walkout.
After adjourning the House sine die, Sreeramakrishnan told reporters that it was difficult to please everyone during the Assembly session. Leader of Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala, who led the UDF MLAs outside the Assembly, announced his party’s decision to end the ‘indefinite satyagraha’ which was being observed by three opposition MLAs inside the house for over one week.
He claimed that the protest by MLAs against restrictions over Sabarimala was a “success”. However, the government has not yet reduced the restrictions at Sabarimala even after remarks made by the high court, he added.
Prohibitory orders had been imposed by the government after the hill temple witnessed protests by devotees over the entry of young women into the shrine. The government’s stand is that it was constitutionally bound to implement the 28 September Supreme Court verdict, allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the shrine, while the main opposition UDF has sided with the believers.
The BJP is opposing any move to allow women in the 10-50 age group to trek the holy hill for darshan at the Ayyappa temple. When the temple was opened for monthly and special pujas in October and November, there were massive protests by devotees, following which severe restrictions, including prohibitory orders, were imposed.