Indian Union Muslim League MLA M K Muneer called the government initiative of the "Wall of Women" a "communal wall". It elicited strong protests from ruling LDF members.

The last day of the Kerala assembly session was marred by tumultuous protests on Thursday with ruling LDF members raising strong objections against the “communal wall” remark made by an Opposition MLA against the proposed “Wall of Women” initiative.

According to PTI, a minor scuffle broke out while Opposition legislators were staging a walkout after the permission for an adjournment motion on the “Wall of Women” was denied. The scuffle ended after the intervention of senior MLAs.

In order to demonstrate the secular and progressive mindset of the state, the “Wall of Women” programme would be formed under the aegis of the state government on January 1 from the northern district of Kasargod to the southern most district of Thiruvananthapuram.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) MLA M K Muneer, while seeking permission for the adjournment motion, called the government initiative of the “Wall of Women” a “communal wall”. It elicited strong protests from ruling LDF members.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, however, said history would throw those who oppose the wall to the waste bin. “I don’t understand how the wall to remember the renaissance was considered as a ‘communal wall. This is not to argue but to create awareness among masses on the renaissance history of the state,” Vijayan told the Assembly.

Muneer alleged that the “wall of women” was meant to please Vellappally Natesan and C P Sugathan. Natesan is the chief of Sree Narayana Dharma paripalana (SNDP) Yogam, a caste-based outfit and Sugathan, a Hindu Parliament leader. Despite strong protests from ruling benches, Muneer refused to take back his comment.

Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan said unprecedented incidents were happening in the Assembly even as both the ruling and the opposition members continued their verbal duel. Subsequently, the Speaker rejected the plea for the motion moved by Muneer. The scuffle then broke out when Opposition leaders were staging a walkout.

The opposition Congress-led UDF has been up in arms against the Pinarayi Vijayan government for turning Sabarimala into a police fortress, alleging that it has caused hardships to the pilgrims.

Leader of Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala, who led the UDF MLAs outside the Assembly, announced his party’s decision to end the ‘indefinite satyagraha’ which was being observed by three opposition MLAs inside the house for over one week. He claimed that the protest by MLAs against restrictions over Sabarimala was a “success”.

While the government has been maintaining 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, the main opposition UDF has sided with the believers.

The BJP has been vociferously opposing any move to allow women in the 10-50 age group to trek the holy hill for darshan at the Ayyappa temple.

With PTI inputs

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