Thiruvananthapuram: Social activist Trupti Desai finally retreated her steps from the shrine after remaining stuck at the Kochi airport for several hours but vowed to return to Lord Ayyappa’s temple soon. Desai said that after being told by the state police to return to her hometown Pune that she did consider to head back. Also Read - Amid COVID-19 Lockdown, Kerala Govt to Issue Liquor Passes For People With 'Withdrawal Symptoms'
Desai alleged that people who claimed to be Ayyappa’s devotees threatened and abused her. “Protestors threatened taxi drivers from providing us services. The hotel staff was threatened of damage to hotels if rooms were given to us,” said Trupti Desai. Also Read - Back from The Brink of Death! 93-Year-Old Kerala Man Recovers From Coronavirus, Doctors Call it a 'Miracle'
As many as 500 protestors blocked the Cochin International Airport for over eight hours as Section 144 was imposed in four districts – Nilakkal, Elavumkal, Pamba and Sabarimala – of Kerala till November 22. The Bhumata Brigade founder, who reached here at around 4.40 AM from Pune, was scheduled to visit the Sabarimala Temple along with six other women in the previously banned 10-50 age group on November 17. Notably, the Lord Ayyappa shrine re-opened for the two-month-long Madala-Makkarvilakku puja on Friday. Also Read - Coronavirus Kerala: 'Used Soap And Water,' Say Kerala Officials After Video Emerges of People Being 'Disinfected'
As a huge number of people gathered to protest against her outside the airport, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader claimed that the Bhumata Brigade founder will not be allowed to leave using police vehicle or other government means.
On the other hand, Desai said, “Protesters should not resort to violence. Once we reach there, we’ll see what level of security state gives us. Even if the state doesn’t give us any security, we’ll still go, but I can be attacked. I have received so many threats of attack and killing.”
The development came as the protesters comprising women and BJP workers, assembled in large numbers outside the airport, continued their protest chanting Ayyappa mantra. They alleged that Desai and her team came here to violate the centuries–old custom of the temple that prevents entry of women and girls in the age group of 10 and 50.
Earlier on Wednesday, Desai, in a letter to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, claimed she would not leave the state if she were not allowed to enter the Sabarimala Temple. She also received a number of threats on social media platforms, in the wake of the decision. “Trupti Desai, if you ever come to Kerala, you will be cut into pieces. You will be murdered, when you come to Kerala. We will commit suicide,” the threats claimed.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to reconsider its September 28 verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple while, refusing to stay its earlier verdict. A top court bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra decided to hear the review petitions in open court on January 22.