The Supreme Court's historic verdict allowing women of menstrual age group to worship at Sabarimala Temple was yet again disowned at the Kerala shrine Friday. As lakhs of devotee throng to Sabarimala owing to 62-day-long annual pilgrimage season this evening, Trupti Desai, social activist and founder of Bhumata Brigate, also set her eyes on Kerala's Lord Ayyappa Temple. However, Desai, who vowed to enter Sabarimala in 2017, was on Friday barred from entering the temple, preserving the centuries-old Hindu religious practice in the southern state.
Desai had been stuck at the Cochin International Airport ever since she arrived at Kochi on Friday morning and later decided to return Pune following massive protests being carried out against her visit to Sabarimala Temple.
In an address to the media at Kochi airport, Desai said that the cab drivers and hotel owners were threatened by the protesters of facing a law and order situation in case they provide her shelter. "It feels sad that the devotees of Lord Ayyappa are abusing and threatening us," she added.
"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. This is a fight for gender equality and I extend my gratitude to all media organizations for supporting me. I'm not going because I'm scared but it is on the request of Kerala police citing security threats. I also thank Kerala police and I'll return to Sabarimala but without prior announcement," Trupti claimed.
"More than 500 women have done bookings to visit the Sabarimala Temple, I would appeal to the government to provide a security which can take women to the temple. Our fight is for equality. The Kerala police have requested us to go back. If we will stay here the violence can erupt. This was never our agenda," she told reporters.
On Friday, Sabarimala Temple gates were thrown open around 5 pm for 62-day long Mandala Pooja-Magaravilaku, marking the annual pilgrimage season. In the view of raging controversy over Supreme Court's September 28 Sabarimala verdict, Section 144 was imposed in Nilakkal, Pamba and Sannidhanman as a precautionary measure. Security has been beefed up in and around the Kerala shrine to avoid any untoward incidents.
Earlier on Wednesday, two days ahead of Sabarimala opening, Trupti dashed a letter to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, saying that she would not leave the state in case she was not allowed to enter Sabarimala Temple.
This is the third time that Sabarimala Temple is thrown open after Supreme Court in a landmark judgement had allowed women irrespective of their age, to enter the hill shrine in Kerala.