Prime News, Nation, (Thiruvananthapuram), November 17:-After waiting for more than 12 hours at the Cochin International Airport due to protests, Pune-based activist Trupti Desai decided to head back, calling off her plan to visit the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala over concerns of law and order in Kerala. She said that unlike this time, they will not announce their arrival in Kerala, adding that her women group will follow ‘guerrilla tactics’ the next time.
“Police told us that they will provide us security the next time we visit. We decided to return as we didn’t want violence due to us. This time we went there after announcing, the next time we won’t announce but follow ‘guerrilla tactics’,” she said.
Founder of the Bhumata Brigade, Desai, who then went to Mumbai, was stuck inside the city airport as agitated devotees of Lord Ayyappa staged protests outside it, demanding the activist to drop her plan to visit the holy hill shrine till she attains the age of 50 years.
“We have come here to protest. Trupti Desai should try going there after attaining 50 years of age and not before that. She won`t be allowed to step inside the temple before that. There are so many devotees working towards this and stopping other women too,” an agitated protester in Mumbai said.
The activist and the other women were later brought out with the help of CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) jawans and Mumbai police personnel.
Although the seven-member group led by Desai arrived at the Cochin International airport on Friday early morning, the protesters did not allow her to proceed to Sabarimala Temple.
The team had to wait for the entire day inside the airport as no cab driver agreed to take her team to their destination – Sabarimala temple. In the wake of protests carried out against her visit at the Kochi airport, the activist said that Kerala police advised her to go back to Pune.
Speaking about the episode at the Cochin Airport, Desai said, “Protesters were resorting to violence, to hooliganism, they should not have done that. They call themselves lord Ayyappa’s devotees but I don’t think can be his devotees. They were verbally abusing us and threatening us.”
She added, “We were stopped at the airport. If they wanted to oppose us, they should have protested in Nilakkal but they knew that if we reached Nilakkal, we would advance to Pamba and return after Darshan. So they were scared and stopped us at the airport.”
As the Temple reopened on Friday for a two-month long pilgrimage season, Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was imposed in Nilakkal, Pamba, and Sannidhanman as a precautionary measure.
The social activist had, on November 14, written a letter to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, stating that she would not leave the state if she was not allowed to enter the holy hill shrine.
The temple had witnessed a string of protests from devotees when it opened for monthly pujas for five days in October and two days early this month.
This is the third time that the Temple has opened after the Supreme Court lifted restrictions on the entry of women into the temple.
Over 3,700 persons have been arrested so far and 546 cases registered against various people for violence during protests across the state after the top court permitted women of all ages to pray at the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala.
-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)