Sabarimala incidents pained me: Kerala Devaswom Minster

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Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 11 (PTI) In poll-bound Kerala, senior CPI(M) leader and Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran on Thursday virtually expressed regret over the incidents that took place in Sabarimala over the women entry issue and described it as something which 'should never have happened' at the Lord Ayyappa Temple.

He also vowed that the Left government would implement the final verdict of the Supreme Court only after consulting with believers, political parties and general public.

'The incident that took place in Sabarimala in 2018 was something which had pained all of us.It shouldnever have happened.It has pained everyone...it has pained me also,' Surendran told television channels.

The minister, who is contesting the April 6 Assembly election, has come out with the statement at a time when the opposition Congress and BJP are raking up the Sabarimala issue against the Marxist government in the poll-bound state.

Kerala had witnessed high drama during the nearly three-month long annual pilgrimage season in 2018 with around a dozen women in the 10-50 age group being prevented from entering the Sabarimala temple by protesting devotees after the doors were opened for women following the apex court verdict,permitting women of all age groups into the shrine.

The LDF, particularly the CPI(M), had drawn flak from several quarters over the women's entry issue for its alleged hastiness in implementing the Supreme Court order.

In the Lok Sabha polls in 2019, post-Sabarimala agitation, the LDF had suffered a massive drubbing, losing 19 out of the total of 20 seats.

The CPI(M), however, regained lost ground by winning the recent civic body polls.

The party, which conducted a door-to-door campaign post the LS polls, had admitted that a section of believers had misunderstood the Left on the Sabarimala issue.

Surendran, however, expressed hope that people were no more worried about those incidents now.

'The case is currently before the larger bench of the Supreme Court and whatever be the verdict, the government will implement it only after discussing it with everyone including believers, political parties and general public,' the minister said.

He also pointed out that the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government recently had withdrawn all cases that were not of serious criminal nature in connection with the Sabarimala agitation and that was a message.

However, the BJP on Thursday rejected the minister's statement and demanded an apology from him for whatever he had done at the Lord Ayyappa temple.

Party's state president K Surendran said the minister would not be forgiven for the cruelty and injustice shown to Sabarimala, even if he takes a dip in the Ganga a thousand times.

He also said Kadakampally Surendran was now crying out of fear of losing the coming polls and the people of the state would not believe him. PTI LGK BN BN