Activist Trupti Desai, who wants to enter Kerala’s Sabarimala temple in defiance of a decades-old custom on women of menstrual age, has been blocked by hundreds of protesters at the Kochi airport since she landed at 4:30 am on Friday. Desai and six other women arrived at the domestic terminal of the Cochin International Airport on a 4.35am flight on Friday. However, as of 8 am on Friday, she remains stuck inside the airport, unable to leave due to the growing number of protesters gathered outside the airport chanting Ayyappa slogans. The taxis she’d booked refused to transport her, out of fear of being attacked by protesters.
“I will go ahead come what may. I will not go back without the darshan of Lord Ayyappa,” said Desai, who said goons were out to block her and not devotees.
Trupti Desai had written to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the state police chief seeking protection to visit the shrine, where no woman has been allowed even after the Supreme Court ruling.
In a video message Trupti Desai sent to media outlets, she stated, “We booked a taxi twice-thrice but drivers have been threatened that their vehicle will be vandalized if they offer us a drive. Police have said that we can’t go outside now.”
Trupti has stated that she is not willing to return to Pune without going to Sabarimala. Television visuals at 11 am showed Trupti Desai and the six women accompanying her sitting inside the airport and eating breakfast.
Taking to Facebook, Trupti had posted photos of herself and the women with her around 8 am on Friday.
“We reached Kochi airport at 4.30 am and protesters gathered in hundreds. The government has deployed 150 cops for our protection but three hours have gone by and the police have not been able to handle the situation. Protesters have said the moment Trupti Desai comes out and sits in her car, we will vandalise it,” Trupti stated in the caption written in Marathi.
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