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Sabarimala protests LIVE updates: Will come back, says activist Trupti Desai as she returns home


As Sabarimala Temple opened Friday evening for a two-month long pilgrimage season amid tight security, activist Trupti Desai said that she has been asked by the state police to return to Pune, PTI reported.

Protests have been on at Cochin airport since today morning following Desai’s arrival in the state in an attempt to trek the hills and pray at the shrine on Saturday. Speaking to IndianExpress.com on Thursday, Desai had said the Kerala CM and DGP would be responsible if she and women accompanying her were attacked. Kerala activist Rahul Easwar also joined the protests at the airport briefly and said that Desai would have to walk over the protesters to enter the temple.

Meanwhile, the Travancore Devaswom Board has decided to move Supreme Court seeking more time to implement its verdict. Police personnel have been deployed at the base camp in order to avoid violence as devotees throng Pamba.

21:14 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Kerala CM seeks co-operation from people to ensure peaceful two-month long pilgrimage season at Ayyappa temple

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought cooperation from everyone to ensure that the two-month-long pilgrimage season at the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, which began Friday, passes off peacefully. The government’s aim is to uphold the esteem of the Sabarimala temple, he said. ‘Any untoward incident would only mar the shrine’s reputation and the media must exercise caution and not publish ‘misinformation that cause disturbances,’ Vijayan said in a Facebook post.

20:45 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Ayyappa Karma Samithi workers protest outside Desai’s home in Pune

Ayyappa Karma Samithi workers conduct a namajapa yatra to Trupti Desai’s home in Pune as a protest against her attempt to go to Sabarimala on Thursday.

(Express photo by Pavan Khengre)
(Express photo by Pavan Khengre)
20:19 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Trupti Desai vows to come back to Sabarimala

“People who indulge in hooliganism are not Ayyappa devotees. This protest is a sign that protesters are scared of me and this also proves my victory. This is a fight for gender equality and I extend my gratitude to all media organizations for supporting me. I’m not going because I’m scared but it is on the request of Kerala police citing security threats. I also thank Kerala police and I’ll return to Sabarimala but without prior announcement,” said Trupti Desai.

19:22 (IST)16 NOV 2018
It saddens me to see that Ayyappa devotees are abusing and threatening us: Trupti Desai

In an address to the media at Kochi airport, after being asked to return to Pune by the state police, Trupti Desai said, “Protestors threatened taxi drivers from providing us services. Hotel staff was threatened of damage to hotels if rooms were given to us. It saddens me to see that people who call themselves Ayyappa devotees are abusing & threatening us.”

19:13 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Rahul Easwar tweeted a video showing women protesting at Cochin airport during the day
18:57 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Trupti Desai arrived in Kochi airport this morning
18:37 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Kerala police have asked me to return to Pune, says activist Trupti Desai

Amid over a 12-hour stand-off with devotees and others, including BJP workers, at the airport here vowing not to let her proceed to the Sabarimala shrine, activist Trupti Desai said police have asked her to return to Pune. The development comes even as the doors to the Lord Ayyappa temple opened for the “Mandala Makkaravillakku” puja. Desai said police officers held a meeting with her. “Police have requested me to return to Pune,” she told reporters. Desai said she will announce her decision by 6.30 pm.

18:02 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Sabarimala Karma Samithi protests against Trupti Desai in state capital
17:56 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Devotees throng to Sabarimala as shrine opens
  Asked by police to return to Pune, says Trupti Desai

Activist Trupti Desai, who is in Kochi en route to Sabarimala, says she has been asked by police to return to Pune. The activists have been held at the airport ever since she landed in Kochi to reach Sabarimala as the shrine opened. She faced a major protest at the airport by activists including Rahul Eshwar.

17:45 (IST)16 NOV 2018
TDB decides to move SC seeking time to implement its verdict

The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the Sabarimala shrine, Friday decided to approach the Supreme Court seeking more time to implement its order allowing women in the menstrual age to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple. The decision was taken after discussion with legal experts and board members, TDB President A Padmakumar told reporters here, a day ahead of the commencement of the two-month long annual pilgrim season.

17:33 (IST)16 NOV 2018
PHOTOS: Protest will continue until Trupti Desai goes back, claims BJP state secretary
Credits: Kiran Gangadharan
Credits: Kiran Gangadharan
Credits: Kiran Gangadharan
17:02 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Protesters chant Lord Ayyappa slogans outside Cochin airport
16:51 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Devotees throng Sabarimala base camp to begin trek and reach temple which opens tomorrow
16:47 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Will bring more supporters from other districts if needed: Kerala BJP secretary

Kerala BJP secretary K Surendran told indianexpress.com that the protest will continue till she (Trupti Desai) go back. They will also try to bring more supporters from other districts if needed.

15:59 (IST)16 NOV 2018
In Pics: Rahul Easwar among protesters that are gathered outside Cochin airport blocking exit for Trupti Desai
Protesters outside Cochin airport. (Credits: Nithin)
Credits: Kiran Gangadharan
Activist Rahul Easwar (Credits: Kiran Gangadharan)
15:41 (IST)16 NOV 2018
‘She (Trupti Desai) will have to walk step on our chests and walk over us if she wants to enter Sabarimala Temple’: Rahul Easwar
15:36 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Sabarimala temple opens at 5 pm for the ‘Mandala Makkaravillakku’ puja; police teams deployed to maintain peace

Police personnel have been deployed in and around Sabarimala temple as it opens at 5 pm this evening for the “Mandala Makkaravillakku” puja in the backdrop of protests witnessed during the previous two occasions when the shrine opened. IGP Vijay Saleem has asked police personnel to follow strict dress code at Sabarimala, while exemption has been given to cops at the holy 18 steps. Over 15,000 personnel, including women police personnel and 860 women civil police officers, would be deployed during the season, when lakhs of devotees from different parts of the country are expected to throng the shrine.

15:13 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Author Taslima Nasreen questions the enthusiasm of women to enter Sabarimala

Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen on Twitter questions the eagerness of women to enter Sabarimala, says that they should rather enter villages where women are suffering from problems like domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse, hate instead.

15:06 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Kochi-Mumbai air tickets available, tweets activist Rahul Easwar
Protesters assemble outside Cochin airport, blocking exit of Trupti Desai

An assembly of protesters outside the Cochin airport attempted to prevent activist Trupti Desai from exiting it to visit the Sabarimala temple tomorrow morning.

  Sabarimala shrine to open for two-month pilgrimage season

On November 16 evening, the Sabarimala shrine will open for the two-month pilgrimage season. Despite the SC ruling, no woman between the menstruating age of 10-50 have been able to ascend the hill and offer prayers at the shrine.

12:03 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Against entry of young women, traditions should be upheld: Pandalam royal family associated with Sabarimala

The erstwhile Pandalam royal family, associated with the temple, has told Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that there was no change in its stand on the rituals and traditions of the shrine and it was against the entry of young women. The views were conveyed during talks held separately by the Chief Minister with Sasikumar Varma and Thantri (head priest) Kandararu Rajeevaru.

11:12 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Won’t return until we have ‘darshan’: Activist Trupti Desai after protesters block her exit from Cochin airport

Activist Trupti Desai said no taxi is willing to pick her up from Cochin airport, where she, along with six other women, have been ensconced since 4.30 AM when their flight landed.

Desai, however, asserted that she will not return until she visits the temple Saturday morning.

10:06 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Kerala to deploy zero emission, noiseless electric buses in Sabarimala

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has announced plans to run 10 electric buses for pilgrims to travel to Sabarimala when the temple opens for the annual ‘mandala’ pooja festivities on Friday evening.

09:43 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Section 144 imposed

Section 144 (prohibits assembly of more than 4 people in an area) has been imposed in Nilakkal , Pamba and Sannidhanam ahead of opening of the Sabarimala temple, reports ANI.Hindu Activists led by the local BJP unit protesting outside Cochin International Airport blocking activist Trupti Desai's exit (Express Photo/Nitin)Hindu Activists led by the local BJP unit protesting outside Cochin International Airport blocking activist Trupti Desai’s exit (Express Photo/Nitin)

09:42 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Ahead of Sabarimala opening, Kerala on edge, temple board plans to move court for time

Anticipating protests, prohibitory orders have been issued at Sabarimala and adjoining areas. Meanwhile, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the Sabarimala temple, plans to move court to seek more time to implement the Supreme Court order. TDB president A Padmakumar said the board has taken an in-principle decision to approach the court.

09:06 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Trupti Desai had spearheaded the movement to ensure entry to women at the Shani Shignapur temple in Maharashtra

Founder-president of the Bhumata Brigade, Trupti Desai, had also spearheaded the movement to ensure entry to women at the Shani Shignapur temple in Maharashtra.

When asked if she was scared for her life (for attempting to enter Sabarimala), Desai replied, “No, because this is a fight for equality. I’m an activist, but I’m also a devotee of God. I led the movement at Shani Shignapur because I’m a devotee. If God doesn’t discriminate among devotees, who are we to?”

 Four hours after she landed in Kochi, Trupti Desai still inside airport

Protesters outside Cochin airport continue reciting ‘swami saranam ayyappa’ chants as Trupti Desai and others remain ensconced inside waiting for police directions,  4 hours after they landed in Kochi. Desai, along with six others, will attempt to enter the Sabarimala temple Saturday morning.

The lore of Ayyappa

Ayyappa, according to Hindu myths, is said to be the off-spring of Lord Vishnu (in the form of Mohini) and Lord Shiva who was born on earth and subsequently raised by King Rajasekhara of Pandalam. The deity of Ayyappa at Sabarimala is believed to be a ‘naishtika brahmachari’ (eternal celibate), the argument made for the non-entry of women of menstrual age. According to the myths, Ayyappa would offer darshan only to those who would undertake a rigorous 41-day vow of abstinence from sex, meat and intoxicants.

08:26 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Kerala govt will be responsible if I am attacked, says ‘Right to pray’ campaigner Trupti Desai ahead of Sabarimala visit

Maharashtra-based right to pray campaigner and founder-president of the Bhumata Brigade, Trupti Desai, has said that the Kerala government and the state’s police force will be responsible if there were to be an attack on her and her colleagues ahead of her visit to Sabarimala shrine in the state.

“I have never asked for any VIP security. I am constantly getting threats that I will be hacked to pieces if I set foot in the state, that I will not be able to make it to the temple alive,” she told News Time

08:21 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Won’t allow Trupti Desai to go out of the airport: BJP member

BJP member, M N Gopi, assembled outside the Cochin airport to block Trupti Desai, has warned that if she goes out, she will face “agitations along the way.”

08:18 (IST)16 NOV 2018
Protests block Maharashtra-based activist Trupti Desai at Cochin airport

Maharashtra-based ‘right to pray’ campaigner Trupti Desai arrived at Cochin airport on Friday morning to trek the Sabarimala shrine on November 17. Protesters have assembled outside the airport, blocking her way. Desai has sought for protection from the state government as she, along with six other women of the Bhumata Brigade, attempt to reach the hilltop at 7 AM tomorrow

Devotees at the Sabarimala shrine. (File/Express photo by Vishnu Varma)

Women of menstrual age were barred from entering the Sabarimala shrine as the presiding deity Lord Ayyappa is considered a celibate. The Supreme Court had, on September 28, overturned the ban in a 4-1 verdict, triggering protests by Hindu groups who refused to abide by the ruling.

While the state government has said it would not dilute the SC ruling and enforce its implementation, right-wing hindu outfits, Congress, and the BJP have opposed the verdict.

The Sabarimala temple has opened twice since the September verdict, but no woman has been successful in entering the shrine, amid protests by Ayyappa devotees who demand that restrictions on entry of women of menstrual age (10-50) in the temple be maintained.

Kerala now braces for fresh protests after an all-party meeting called ahead of the temple’s opening for the two-month pilgrim season ended in a stalemate Thursday.

At the meeting, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan rejected the Opposition suggestion that the government seek time from the Supreme Court to implement its order since a clutch of review petitions are to come up for hearing before the top court on January 22.