Sabarimala
Kerala police have confirmed to TNM that they will provide security for Trupti to visit Sabarimala, once she arranges for her car and accommodation.

Right to Pray activist Trupti Desai will have to find a car and accommodation for herself if she wants to visit Sabarimala, a top police source in Kerala has confirmed to TNM. Trupti is in Kerala to visit Sabarimala temple, and is currently stuck inside the Kochi airport, as protesters against women’s entry into Sabarimala have surrounded the airport and blocked her from coming out. A police source said that they have decided that once Trupti arranges her car and accommodation, they will provide security for her to reach the temple.

Trupti Desai and six others from the Bhumata Brigade are currently holed up in the Kochi airport; they reached the airport at 4.30 am on Friday. Due to massive Nama Japa protests – where protesters chant Ayyappa prayers – outside the airport against her visiting Sabarimala, she has not been able to come out. She has tried booking cabs out of the airport but to no avail.

According to reports, the online taxi drivers association in Kerala too have relayed instructions to all cab drivers – including Ola and Uber drivers – to not offer a ride to Trupti anywhere in the state.

Several protestors have gathered outside the arrival wing of the Nedumbassery airport in Kochi to protest against Trupti’s arrival. Learning that she had arrived on a 4.30 am flight from Pune, hundreds of devotees and members of Hindu right-wing groups arrived in the wee hours to protest her attempt to enter Sabarimala. Leaders of groups like the Hindu Aikya Vedike said that they will not allow her to even step out of the airport, let alone go to Sabarimala. Trupti has said that she has been threatened to not step out of the airport, or her car will be vandalised.

When asked why the police have not removed the protesters, a top source said, “Once Trupti arranges for a car, we will remove them.”

Meanwhile Trupti Desai has confirmed on media that she will not be going back to Pune without visiting the temple. The Right to pray activist arrived in Kerala with six other women – all below the age of 50 – to visit the temple. Manisha Tilekar, one of the women accompanying Trupti, told TNM from inside the Kochi airport, “We will stay here till protesters leave. Some five cabs cancelled on us, and the police have told us to arrange our own transport, after which they will provide security.”

“We will not return till we visit Sabarimala,” she added, “To protesters shouting abuses at us – we request them with folded hands to let us go, we are devotees.”

With massive protests in the state against the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 into Sabarimala, over 49 review petitions were filed against the Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict allowing women of all ages entry into Sabarimala. The court has agreed to hear the petitions in open court on January 22. However, the earlier verdict, the court has stated, will not be stayed.

The temple is opening today for a period two months for the Mandala-Makaravilakku season.