Woman activist Trupti Desai on Wednesday waded into the Sabarimala issue when she asked for complete police protection during her visit to the temple starting Friday. But temple activist Rahul Eashwar promised to fight her tooth-and-nail to prevent her entry.
Trupti wrote to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to seek police protection for her group when they visit Sabarimala on November 17 when the temple will open for the two-month long pilgrimage.
The temple town has witnessed protests by Hindu groups and temple tantri and officials ever since a Supreme Court verdict on September 28, which allowed women of all ages to pray at the Lord Ayyappa temple that bans girls and women aged between 10 and 50.
Desai wrote to Vijayan on Wednesday that she along with six other women would be arriving in Kerala on Friday for a visit at the temple on Saturday.
She sought police protection right from the time she lands in Kerala till they leave the state, saying "we will visit the temple whatever be the resistance." Trupti had also requested that the Kerala government bear all her expenses.
Eashwar said he and others, along with Lord Ayyappa's devotees, would ensure that none were able to break the tradition of the temple. "We will lie down before the women who come to break the temple's tradition."
The temple will open on Friday evening for the Mandala Mahotsavam and Trupti has asked to be escorted from the airport to their rooms in Kottayam, where they would rest for the day. The police must then provide protection when they head for the hilltop temple on Saturday, she said.
Speaking to a Malayalam TV channel, Desai said she has written to the Chief Minister, Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra and also Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"I have written but have not done any online booking for the darshan. The Supreme Court order is now very clear and hence we will be there and we will visit the temple whatever be the resistance," said Desai.
The temple will be open for 66 days till January 20, with a small break in between.
Promising an even bigger resistance, Eashwar along with activists and devotees told the media here, that Desai would know the power of the faith of Ayyappa devotees when she and her group reaches the temple town. Eashwar was put in jail in October during the first month's protest after the top court's ruling came into existence.
"Come, what may, we will ensure that our protest will be in the true Gandhian way and none will be able to break the tradition of the temple," he said.
"We will lie down before the women who come to break the temple tradition and if they have to move forward, they will have to walk on our bodies and once that happens, the police will have to arrest such people," said Eashwar.