Kerala

Kerala to drop non-serious Sabarimala cases

A file photo of a protest in Kochi against allowing entry of women of all ages in Sabarimala.  

The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to withdraw non-serious cases registered in connection with the socially turbulent agitation against the enactment of the Supreme Court’s majority decision in 2018 to permit women of all age brackets to worship at the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple.

Simultaneously, it also reprieved those named as accused in trivial offences perpetrated during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests. The Home Department would work out the modalities.

In the Sabarimala issue, the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) seemed to have pressed the reset button on a topic that threatened to mar its prospects in the imminent Assembly elections.

The Congress and the BJP had made Sabarimala a significant talking point in the Lok Sabha election campaign and looked to do so in the upcoming Assembly elections. The government’s handling of Sabarimala had also drawn a sharp rebuke from respondents in a widely published pre-election poll.

NSS demand

Furthermore, the LDF appeared to have bowed to the Nair Service Society’s pressure (NSS) to withdraw cases against those who had participated peacefully in prayer meetings, a sizeable number of them women. NSS general secretary G. Sukumaran Nair welcomed the decision. However, he said the differences between the NSS and the government on the Sabarimala issue remained.

Devasom Board Minister Kadakampally Surendran said those involved in Sabarimala-issue related grave cases would still face prosecution. The State had witnessed attacks on the police and widespread destruction of public property during the tumultuous protests.

The LDF had signalled a willingness to recalibrate the Sabarimala policy in January. It had guaranteed that a broad consensus among stakeholders would form any future decision on Sabarimala.

Oppn. stance

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said wisdom had dawned belatedly on the government. IUML general secretary K.P.A.Majeed said the decisions were a left-handed compliment for the UDF.

BJP State president K. Surendran said the government had wrongly conflated Sabarimala and CAA issues. Sabarimala was a matter of faith. CAA was a political and legal matter. He demanded the government withdraw all cases linked to the Sabarimala agitation.

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Printable version | Apr 24, 2021 12:06:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/govt-to-drop-sabarimala-caa-cases/article33925241.ece

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