Kerala

Will wait till SC verdict on Sabarimala: CM

Pinarayi says Kerala govt. will go ahead with move to hire helicopter for police

The State government will wait for the Supreme Court verdict to allow women of all ages to offer worship at the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said.

He was replying to a question at a press conference in the Secretariat here on Saturday on the alleged conspiracy over the arrival of Trupti Desai, founder of the Pune-based Bhumata Brigade, in Kochi on November 26 to visit the temple along with four members of the brigade.

“We will wait for the Supreme Court verdict,” Mr. Vijayan said when pointed out that Ms. Desai and Bindu Ammini, one of the women who first visited Sabarimala last year, had moved the Supreme Court against attempts by the police to prevent them from visiting the hill shrine this pilgrim season.

In tune with the government stance, the police are not providing security to women to visit the temple this season.

Ms. Desai and others had to fly back from Kochi after a 12-hour standoff with the police.

A five-member Bench of the Supreme Court has referred the issue of women’s entry to the temple to a larger Bench.

He said the State government will go ahead with the move to hire a helicopter for the police for ‘operational purposes’ despite the criticism from the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) over the deal.

Stating that no tenders were floated or invited from private companies for hiring the helicopter, the Chief Minister told a press conference here on Saturday that the police had struck an agreement with Pawan Hans to hire an AS 365 Dauphin N3 medium twin-engine 11-seater helicopter after having detailed discussion and technical study by the Indian Air Force.

It was a public sector helicopter service company and many States in the country were using their service, Mr. Vijayan said, adding a high-level committee of Secretaries headed by Chief Secretary Tom Jose had worked out the agreement.

Jaleel issue

The Chief Minister gave a clean chit to Higher Education Minister K.T. Jaleel on the controversial mark moderation row in Mahatma Gandhi University by stating that the Minister had no role in it.

“The Minister has never told to give marks. It is the decision of the committee,” the Chief Minister said in reply to a query.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 5:27:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/will-wait-till-sc-verdict-on-sabarimala-cm/article30233108.ece

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