Udayavni Special

Kerala Assembly adjourned for 8th straight day


Team Udayavani, Dec 12, 2018, 3:43 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Assembly was adjourned for the eighth consecutive day on Wednesday with the opposition Congress-led UDF disrupting proceedings over the Sabarimala issue.

As soon the House assembled for the day, opposition MLAs trooped in with banners and placards, raising slogans demanding the withdrawal of prohibitory orders at the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa.

Three UDF MLAs V S Sivakumar (Congress), Parakkal Abdullah (Indian Union Muslim League) and N Jayaraj (Kerala Congress-Mani) have been observing “Satyagraha” in the portico of the House for 10 days, demanding lifting of the curbs and provision of more amenities to pilgrims.

Despite the three MLAs being on an “indefinite satyagraha”, the opposition claimed that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has refused to intervene to discuss and resolve the issue.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala later told reporters that the government’s stand was “unfortunate”.

Holding banners and placards in front of the podium of Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan, UDF members raised slogans as the House assembled for Question Hour.

The speaker kept asking the members to return to their seats.

When they refused, he said the MLAs were crossing all limits by continuing the protest and adjourned the House.

The session, which began on November 26, comes to a close on Thursday.

BJP leader C K Padmanabhan has been on a hunger strike for three days in front of the Secretariat building, demanding lifting of prohibitory orders at Sabarimala.

Earlier, BJP general secretary A N Radhakrishnan was on hunger strike for eight days. As his condition deteriorated, he was arrested and moved to a hospital, following which Padmanabhan began his fast.

The prohibitory orders were imposed by the government after the temple witnessed protests by devotees over the entry of young women into the shrine, the deity of which is a celibate.

The government’s stand is that it was constitutionally bound to implement the September 28 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.

The Congress and the BJP have alleged that due to the restrictions, there has been a fall in the number of devotees at the temple since the two-month long pilgrim season began on November 16.

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