Professional protester Trupti Desai, who was forced to return to Pune without visiting Sabarimala Temple, thanks to resistance from Ayyappa devotees, said she will next “storm” the hill shrine unannounced using “guerrilla tactics”, ANI has reported.
“When we landed at the Kochi airport, protesters gathered there, hurled abuses at us and threatened us to go back. The police, too, requested us to leave saying anything can happen. We didn’t want anything to happen to the people of the state because of us, so we decided to return. Police have told us that they’ll provide us security the next time we visit. This time we went there after announcing, but the next time we won’t announce that we’re visiting, but will follow guerrilla tactics,” she told ANI.
Desai bemoaned that even cab drivers refused take her and her seven-member team to Sabarimala fearing agitation. “Two taxis did arrive at the airport to take us to Sabarimala. However, protesters said they would destroy the cars and attack us. Therefore, the cabs denied to take us to Sabarimala,” she explained.
Desai charged the Kerala government with failure to provide security to women wanting to visit Sabarimala. She further condemned the “hooliganism” witnessed at the Kochi airport upon her arrival.
“Protesters were resorting to violence and hooliganism. They should not have done that. They call themselves Lord Ayyappa’s devotees, but I don’t think they can be his devotees. They were verbally abusing us and threatening us. 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 only after darshan. They were scared and hence stopped us at the airport itself,” she added.
Desai, who is the founder of the Bhumata Brigade, landed in Mumbai a few hours ago. However, she was stranded in the airport itself as protesters had gathered outside the airport to oppose her decision to visit Sabarimala. She and the other women were later brought out with the help of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawans and Mumbai police personnel.
The social activist had, on November 14, written to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, stating that she would not leave Kerala if she was not allowed to enter the holy hill shrine. The Sabarimala temple and surrounding areas witnessed a string of protests recently over the Supreme Court’s decision to quash restrictions on the entry of females aged between 10 and 50 years into the shrine. 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.
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