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.
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.