Bengaluru: Kerala will not file a review petition to overturn the Supreme Court (SC) verdict allowing women into Sabarimala temple, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Wednesday, setting the stage for a possible confrontation with right-wing protesters.

The SC on 28 September overturned a ban on menstrual-age women from entering the popular Hindu shrine, sparking debates and street protests in Kerala.

Some sections of Hindus, including women, have taken to the streets to raise slogans against the state government. Religious organizations, the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) and the Congress had asked the government to file a review petition against the order to honour the believers.

However, Kerala’s Left government is duty-bound to implement the order, Vijayan said in a televised press meet, his first since the verdict.

“When SC makes an order, unless it is overturned by some other order, it is the law. The court has considered all views on the matter, and has come out with a final decision. As a government, we can only do one thing: to take steps to implement that order," he said.

He added that the government will take steps to provide safety and security for women who may want to visit the shrine in the upcoming pilgrim season in November. He added that any attempts to block women who want to enter the shrine will not be tolerated and enough women constables will be deployed to enforce the law.

Sabarimala’s facilities are largely focused on men. Accommodation, toilet, among other needs of women have to be taken care of... We will deploy enough women’s police force. If the force in Kerala is not enough, we will seek women constables from other states too," said Vijayan.

Vijayan also came out against Travancore Devaswom Board (the public body that runs Sabarimala) president A. Padmakumar, whose comments against the verdict triggered speculation that the state will file a review petition.

“He may have a personal opinion. But it isn’t proper for him to state a view contrary to what has been said agreed in consultation with the government. The board has not decided yet to file any review petition on the matter," said the chief minister.

Although Vijayan tried to avoid going into the merits of the topic, pointing to his constitutional obligation to implement the order, he did indicate his personal view on the matter.

“Not all believers think women should not be allowed. Many, who are also strong believers, think women should be allowed, including the honourable (former civil servant) T.K.A. Nair, monks... Initially Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS, BJP’s mentor organization) also had supported this view. Previously too, various temple reform movements have happened in our land, isn’t it," Vijayan said.

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