While she was blocked by angry Sabarimala protesters,taxi drivers also declined to take activist Trupti Desai out of the Kochi airport. She arrived in Kerala’s Kochi early on Friday to visit the Sabarimala temple.
Thiruvananthapuram: Women’s rights activist Trupti Desai, who arrived in Kerala’s Kochi early on Friday
to visit the Sabarimala temple, was blocked by angry protesters who laid a siege to the airport.
Desai, who arrived in Indigo flight from Pune at 5 am, was not allowed to come out of the airport.
Protesters lay on the road asking the police to take her over their bodies as tension gripped the area.
Though police tried to shift her to a hotel, protesters refused to allow her to come outside asking her
to go back. She reportedly asked the police to hire a taxi to Pambha, the base camp of the hilltop
shrine, from where a 5.5 km trek to the temple begins.
Taxi drivers also declined to take her out of the airport. She has been at the busy airport for more
than three hours.
“I will go ahead come what may. I will not go back without the darshan of Lord Ayyappa,” said Desai,
who said goons were out to block her and not devotees.
As the leader of the Bhumata Ranragini Brigade, Pune-based Desai had fought for the entry of women in
the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.
It was seen as an important landmark in the movement for women’s rights in the country and the incident
triggered similar campaigns at other famous shrines in the country where women have been prohibited
from going inside the sanctum sanctorum.
The shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa has been at the centre of high drama and tension following the
Supreme Court order allowing women of menstrual age to go inside the temple, with women trying to enter
it and devotees bent upon blocking them.
No woman has been able to enter the hill shrine despite an army of security men accompanying them twice
and the situation came to a head when the tantri or the supreme priest threatened to quit and shut the
temple gates if any woman came anywhere near the sanctum sanctorum.
An all-party meeting called by Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to resolve the Sabarimala stand-
off failed to make headway on Thursday with the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staging a
Vijayan stood firm that he was “duty-bound” to implement the Supreme Court order allowing women of all
ages entry into the temple. The annual Sabarimala pilgrimage season starts Friday.
As the hill temple is on edge the Travancore Devasom Board, which runs the temple, is planning to move
the Supreme Court seeking more time to implement its September 28 verdict allowing women of all ages
between 10 and 50 to worship at the temple.
Read more: Kerala govt proposes ‘women-only’ slots in Sabarimala temple row, all-party meet ends in