Kochi: Social activist Trupti Desai on Friday arrived at Cochin International Airport ahead of her visit to the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala along with six other women in the previously banned 10-50 age group on November 17. 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, who reached here at around 4.40 AM from Pune, will not be allowed to leave using police vehicle or other government means.
“Won’t allow Trupti Desai to go out from airport using police vehicle or other govt means. Airport taxies also won’t take her.If she wants,she can use her own vehicle.There will be agitations all along her way even if she goes out from airport,” BJP leader MN Gopi told media outside Cochin airport, where heavy security has been deployed.
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. “She (Desai) came here not for darshan but for disturbing a peaceful Sabarimala pilgrim season beginning Saturday,” they said.
On the other hand, Desai remained adamant about her visit to the hill shrine. She 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.”
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 Lord Ayyappa shrine, which will re-open for the two-month-long Madala-Makkarvilakku puja on Saturday.
“It may be noted that, unless we do not worship at the Sabarimala temple by entering into the sanctum sanctorum, we will not return without worshipping God. We would never leave Kerala,” she stated in the letter. She further urged the government to arrange a vehicle for her delegation and bear the expenses of their stay as well.
The Bhumata Brigade founder also received a number of threats on social media platforms, following 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.
Earlier on October 19, Trupti Desai was detained by the Pune Police after she along with other women activists threatened to stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s convoy. She had written to Ahmednagar Superintendent of Police, demanding a meeting with the PM to discuss the Sabarimala issue.
Desai had earlier spearheaded the campaign to allow entry of women to various religious places, including Shani Shingnapur temple, the Haji Ali Dargah, the Mahalakshmi Temple and the Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple.
Meanwhile 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.