As the Sabarimala temple is set to open its doors for the third time on Friday after the Supreme Court verdict allowing the entry of women of all ages, Kerala braces for more protests.
Early in the morning, Trupti Desai, founder of Bhumata Brigade reached the Cochin International Airport only to be stopped by angry protesters who are against her decision to visit the temple.
Desai, who is accompanied by six other women have not been able to leave the airport yet due to protests being carried outside against her visit to the temple.
“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.
The protesters who have gathered outside the airport maintained that they will not allow Desai to go out of the airport using police vehicle or by any other government means.
They further said that there will be agitations all along her way even if she goes out of the airport. Taxi drivers also declined to take her out of the airport.
Desai had earlier written to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the state DGP, requesting police protection for her visit to the Sabarimala temple on November 17.
Her decision to visit the temple came hours after the top court on Tuesday refused to stay its verdict allowing entry of women of all age groups into the Sabarimala temple but agreed to hear in open court on January 22 a batch of review petitions in the matter.
The Lord Ayyappa shrine will open its doors for the two-month-long annual ‘Mandala Makkaravillakku’ season on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Section 144 has been imposed in Nilakkal, Pamba and Sannidhanam ahead of the temple opening.
Around 15,000 police personnel have been deployed to heighten the security in the area.
Over 500 young women had registered for darshan in the online queue website of Kerala police last week.
Earlier on Thursday, an all-party meeting on the Sabarimala temple failed after the Congress and BJP leaders walked out following remarks from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that the government cannot go against the Supreme Court verdict.
A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by the then Chief Justice Misra had on September 28 junked the age-old tradition of the Lord Ayyappa temple by a majority verdict of 4:1.
The temple which opened its doors for a five-day monthly pooja on October 17 witnessed massive protests by various devotee groups and Hindu outfits against the Pinarayi Vijayan government’s decision to implement the apex court order without going for any review petition.
Though attempts had been made by some young women, including an activist, to enter the temple of the ‘Naishtik Brahmachari’, the eternally celibate deity, the devotees backed by priests stood their ground, saying they would not allow the tradition to be breached.
According to police sources, 12 women in the 10-50 age group were prevented from offering worship at the temple, since it opened for the monthly pooja on October 17.