Screen-grab, Copyrights: Free Press Journal
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Activist Trupti Desai, who arrived at the Kochi airport early on Tuesday en route to Sabarimala temple sparked off protests by Lord Ayyappa devotees.

Desai has been kept at the Kochi City Police Commissioners office.

Desai arrived with four other activists at the airport around 5 a.m. and has been in discussion with the top police officers here requesting police protection to reach the temple, located about 200 km from here.

Hearing about her arrival, a large group of Sabarimala devotees gathered in front of the police office and started to sing Sabarimala hymns promising not to allow her to pray at the temple.

Bindu Ammini, one of the two women who on January 2 became the first women in the 10 to 50 age group to pray at the temple was spotted by Sabarimala devotees and they vented their anger by throwing chilly powder on her and after a brief verbal duel, she was taken out by the police from the Commissioner’s office, for medical attention.

Though the Supreme Court, earlier in November gave a 3:2 verdict referring the Sabarimala review pleas to a larger seven-judge bench, it maintained that it has not stayed its September 28, 2018 order allowing women of all ages to enter the temple.

However, the Pinarayi Viajyan-led Left government has made its position clear that it will not make any effort to ensure entry of women into the temple to pray.

The tradition of the temple has been to ban the entry of women in the age group between 10 to 50.

The two month long Sabarimala festival season began on November 17 and since seven women in the banned age group — all from outside Kerala who sought ‘darshan’ were not allowed entry to the temple by the police.

Devotees returning after praying at the temple, when they heared about Desai’s presence, turned furious and vowed to sacrifice their lives to protect the temple traditions.

“We will not allow anyone to break the traditions of this temple. All these activists are trying to destroy the sanctity of this hallowed temple,” said angry pilgrims.

Incidentally in the last season, Desai along with her friends failed to come out of the Kochi airport following a massive protest from right wing activists.

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