Sabarimala: After 11 Hrs At Cochin Airport, Trupti Desai Flies Back Home
After being stranded in the Cochin airport for 11 hours, gender equality activist Trupti Desai decided to fly back to Mumbai after Lord Ayyappa devotees staged massive protests, barring her from leaving Cochin International Airport. The devotees ensured that cab drivers do not provide service to Desai and her group, and threatened hotel staff to not provide them with rooms. Desai had earlier vowed that she would visit Sabarimala Temple on November 17.
Trupti Desai faces protests at Cochin International Airport
Amid huge protests, Hindu activist and head of the Bhumata Brigade Trupti Desai arrived at the airport on Friday, having vowed to visit Sabarimala Temple along with six other women, a report by The News Minute said.
However, a huge number of protesters chanting Ayappa slogans outside the airport made her unable to leave for Sabarimala. Even taxi drivers, out of fear of being attacked by the protesters, refused to provide her with service.
“We are not being allowed to book a cab by the protesters. We are being threatened that our cars will also be vandalised,” Desai said told News18. She also said that the protesters consisted to members of the BJP as well as RSS.
Desai had earlier said that she would not leave Kerala until she visits Sabarimala Temple, and had been promised that she would get police protection. Previously, she had led campaigns to ensure that women are permitted to enter various religious places like Shani Shingnapur temple, the Haji Ali Dargah, the Mahalakshmi Temple and the Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple.
But keeping in mind the situation, police told Desai that it would not be possible for them to escort her to the temple. “The manner in which she publicised her visit and came is a major problem. She publicised the time, date,” said police sources. They also mentioned that the safety of others at the airport also had to be considered.
Trupti Desai decides to fly back to Mumbai
Sabarimala Temple opened on Friday because of the Mandala-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season. Ayyappa Dharma Sena president Rahul Easwar said that the temple will be guarded by the protesters for the next 60 days.
After more than a 12-hour stand-off with devotees refusing to let Desai enter the temple, she claimed that the police have asked her to return to Pune, refusing to escort her to Sabarimala Temple.
“We will not return to Maharashtra without darshan at the Sabarimala temple. We have faith in the government that it will provide security for us,” Desai said. She added that the state government and the police should be responsible to escort them safely to the temple.
“People who indulge in hooliganism are not Ayyappa devotees. This protest is a sign that protesters are scared of me and this also proves my victory. I’m not going because I’m scared but it is at the request of Kerala police citing security threats. I also thank Kerala police and I’ll return to Sabarimala but without prior announcement,” said Desai. She extended her gratitude to the media organizations for supporting her during her fight for gender equality.
The Supreme Court verdict
The Supreme Court’s decision to lift restrictions for women entering Central Kerala’s popular Sabarimala temple has caused the state to get divided by supporters on either side. The blazing issue for the last couple of weeks has witnessed several men and women participating in street-protests and prayer meetings by Lord Ayyappa’s devotees. Lord Ayyappa is the presiding God in the temple.
The age-old rule that disallowed women of the menstruating age from entering Kerala’s Sabarimala temple has been struck down by the Supreme Court. The rule violated women’s right to equality and right to worship, said the 4-1 verdict of the Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.