Woman activist-tantri spar ahead of Sabarimala pilgrimage

Thiruvananthapuram: Woman activist Trupti Desai on Wednesday waded into the Sabarimala issue when she asked for complete police protection during her visit to the temple starting Friday. But temple activist Rahul Eashwar promised to fight her tooth-and-nail to prevent her an entry.

Desai wrote to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to order police protection for her group when they visit Sabarimala on November 17 when the temple will open for the two-month long pilgrimage.

The temple town has witnessed protests by Hindu groups and temple tantri and officials ever since a Supreme Court verdict on September 28, allowed women of all ages to pray at Lord Ayyappa temple that hitherto banned girls and women aged between 10 and 50.

Desai wrote to Vijayan on Wednesday that she along with six other women would be arriving in Kerala on Friday for a visit at the temple on Saturday.

She sought police protection right from the time she lands in Kerala till they leave the state, saying “we will visit the temple whatever be the resistance”.

While Eashwar said he and his officials along with Lord Ayyappa’s true devotees would ensure that none were able to break the tradition of the temple. “We will lie down before the women who come to break the temple’s tradition.”

The temple will open on Friday evening for the Mandala Mahotsavam and she has asked to be escorted right from the airport to their rooms in Kottayam, where they would rest for the day.

The police must then provide protection when they head for the hilltop temple on Saturday.

Speaking to a Malayalam TV channel, Desai said she has written to the Chief Minister, Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra and also Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“I have written but have not done any online booking for the darshan. The Supreme Court order is now very clear and hence we will be there and we will visit the temple whatever be the resistance,” said Desai.

The temple will be open for 66 days till January 20, with a small break in between.

Promising an even bigger resistance, Sabarimala Tantri family’s Rahul Eashwar along with activists and devotees told the media here, that Desai would know the power of the faith of Ayyappa devotees when she and her group reaches the temple town.

Eashwar was put in jail in October during the first month’s protest after the top court’s ruling came into existence.

“Come, what may, we will ensure that our protest will be in the true Gandhian way and none will be able to break the tradition of the temple.

“We will lie down before the women who come to break the temple tradition and if they have to move forward, they will have to walk on our bodies and once that happens, the police will have to arrest such people,” said Eashwar.

This post was last modified on November 14, 2018, 9:00 pm