A prominent Congress leader in Kerala, who is also a former president of the Travancore Devaswam Board that administers the Sabarimala Temple has called for urgent intervention by the Centre to resolve the impasse prevailing in the State as a result of the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages entry in the holy shrine.

Prayar Gopalakrishnan,  who was a Congress legislator during 2001-2006, pointed out that the Centre has every right as per the Constitution to promulgate an ordinance to sort out the law and order situation in Sabarimala . “The CPI-M led Kerala Government has failed miserably to tackle the situation. It has aggravated the intensity of the problem by unleashing police over the hapless devotees. It is time for the Centre’s intervention in this issue,” said Gopalakrishnan while speaking to The Pioneer.

“Article 28 of the Indian Constitution makes it clear that the Centre has the power to enact a legislation under Section 246(2) which deal with issues related to places of worship. As per documents in possession of the Devaswam Board itself, the shrine’s name is Sree Ayyappa Swamy Temple. The CPI-M government got the name changed to Sastha Temple as part of a deep rooted conspiracy  and to destroy the uniqueness of the temple,” said Gopalakrishnan. He also pointed out that the temples come under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and  falls under the concurrent list which makes  the Centre more powerful in enacting the suitable law/ordinance.

Chief Minister Ponarayi Vijayan who addressed the media on Monday blamed the ESS, BJP and the Congress for vitiating the atmosphere in Sabarimala even as police continued the crack down on devotees reciting Ayyappa hymns at the shrine. Though the High Court of Kerala had ordered the State Government to call back the police force from Sabarimala, there has been no let up in the number of cops deployed at the shrine, according to Roshy Raveendran, a tour operator at Kochi airport organising pilgrimage to Sabarimala. “Business is down as there is sharp fall in the arrival of pilgrims to Sabarimala,” said Raveendran.

The Nair Service Society (NSS), an organisation representing the Nair community in the government and which has maintain “equidistant” from both the Congress and the CPI-M has come out on Monday lambasting the Pinarayi Vijayan government in the Sabarimala issue. “The police deployed at Sabarimala views the devotees as if they are terrorists. The Ayyappa devotees deserve a fair treatment,” said the editorial in the magazine “Service”, the NSS mouthpiece.