Trupti Desai vows to enter Sabarimala in Jan 2017, tells TNM it’s her constitutional right

Shanishingapur storm moves southward: Will enter Sabarimala in Jan 2017, says Trupti Desai.
Trupti Desai vows to enter Sabarimala in Jan 2017, tells TNM it’s her constitutional right
Trupti Desai vows to enter Sabarimala in Jan 2017, tells TNM it’s her constitutional right
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After their successful campaign and victory in securing women’s entry into Shani Shignapur temple in Maharashtra and Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai, Trupti Desai, gender equality activist and founder of Bhumata Brigade has set her eyes on Kerala’s Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Swamy temple.

The temple has been in controversy due to its refusal to allow menstruating women (usually between ages 10 to 50) to enter its premises.

Trupti told The News Minute that she intends to come to Kerala with 100 other women from Bhumata Brigade in January 2017 and make an appeal to the trustees of the Travancore Devaswom Board to allow women’s entry.

The temple situated in Pattanamthitta district of Kerala is managed by the Sabarimala Tantri family and the Devaswom board.

“Menstruation is a natural process. No gods have said they consider women impure because of it. The right to pray is our constitutional right and we will come to claim it,” Trupti said.

While the hearing for the PIL filed by Indian Young Lawyers Association in 2006 against this restriction is ongoing in the Supreme Court, Trupti says she doesn’t see a point in waiting for the final decision before starting her campaign. “The PILs will continue, but we are going as women to fight for our constitutional rights. Why should there be a delay in that,” she argues.

Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Swamy temple. (Photo by Sreekesh Raveendran Nair)

Although Trupti hopes that the trustees will let them enter the temple, especially with the Haji Ali verdict to back her demand, she is determined to make the trip regardless of their decision. 

The walk to the hill top where the Ayyappa temple is situated requires the devotees to be celibate, cook their own food and not wear footwear among other things for 41 days. Trupti says that she and the other campaigners are ready to abide by these norms and do the 41-day fast as long as they are not discriminatory towards women.

Commending the LDF government’s stand in the Supreme Court of not having an objection to women’s entry in Sabarimala, Trupti says that they are expecting cooperation and protection from Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and his government in Kerala till they achieve their goal. 

The case in the Supreme Court on the entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala took an interesting turn recently with a women’s group called ‘People for Dharma’ impleading into the case. This group says they are ready to wait till they enter menopause and have been running a social media campaign called ‘Ready to Wait.’

Rahul Easwar, a member of the Sabarimala Tantri family had also approached the SC opposing the entry of women of all ages. Rahul Easwar had also petitioned Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalaithaa asking her to not support entry.

During the pilgrimage season, almost 3 crore people visit Sabarimala and this consists a large number of people from Tamil Nadu, AP, Telangana and Karnataka.

Bhumata Brigade is currently gearing for a rally in Mumbai scheduled for December 3. As many as 150 women will make the journey from Pune to Mumbai and enter the Haji Ali dargah. “We will appeal to the trustees in Kerala at the post-rally press conference in Mumbai to allow women to enter the temple as soon as possible,” Trupti says.

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