In a video message to the media, activist and Bhumata Brigade president Trupti Desai, who has been stranded inside the Cochin Airport since 4.40 am on Friday due to protests over her visit to Sabarimala, has appealed to protesters to demonstrate peacefully.
She sent the video from the domestic terminal of the airport. “To leave the airport, we booked taxis two or three times. But those protesters gathered outside have forced those taxi drivers not to take us, saying if they give Trupti Desai a ride, we will attack your taxi or attack the women inside. So, no taxi is willing to take us out. We cannot leave the airport right now due to the law and order situation. When it reduces, we will try to leave the airport,” Trupti said in the video.
Trupti continued, “We are appealing to protesters from here, please conduct your protests peacefully. We are not going to return to Maharashtra without going to Sabarimala. We will enter Sabarimala temple tomorrow morning. We have informed the police about this. We have also discussed with police about the arrangements for where we will stay today, but that arrangement can only be made after the law and order situation outside reduces. In Sabarimala temple tomorrow, we are coming for darshan. We want to tell the government that we are not going to go back to Maharashtra until our darshan is complete. Right now, there is no provision for us to eat or anything else, they have just made us sit here; so we ate the little bit of food we brought with us from home. This is wrong - to stop us at the airport, to engage in goondaism and intimidation. We are also their sisters, we are also devotees of god, we want to go for darshan. This method of stopping us like this is definitely wrong; we condemn it.”
She also posted photos of herself and other women of the Bhumata Brigade on her Facebook page from the airport at around 8 am on Friday. She also wrote a post in Marathi, which read, “We reached Kochi airport at 4.30 am and protesters are gathered in hundreds. The government gave 150 cops for protection. But three hours have gone by and the police have not been able to handle the situation. Protesters say the moment Trupti Desai comes out and sits in her car, we will vandalise it.”