16/11/2018 6:58 PM IST | Updated 16/11/2018 6:59 PM IST

Sabarimala: Trupti Desai Decides To Return To Pune After Protests

Desai and her team were stuck at the Kochi airport for more than 12 hours after angry protesters gathered outside the building.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
A file photo of Trupti Desai.

After an almost 12-hour standoff with protesters at the Kochi airport, activist Trupti Desai on Friday announced that she would return to Pune on Friday night, according to media reports. She was stopped by protesters from going to the Sabarimala temple and said that the police asked her to return to Pune.

The activist, who reached Kochi at around 4.40 am along with six other women, was met with vehement protests. The devotees were firm that she would not be allowed to step out of the airport.

Rahul Easwar, President of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena, also joined the protests against the activist and said that Desai should go back. "She will have to step on our chests and walk over us if she wants to enter the Sabarimala temple," he was quoted as saying by ANI.

Protesting local BJP leaders, according to PTI, alleged that Desai and her team had come to violate the centuries-old custom of the temple that prevented entry of women and girls in the age group of 10 and 50.

Desai had initially said that there was no question of going back without having darshan at the temple.

The temple opened on Friday for the two-month long pilgrim season amid tight security. Unprecedented security arrangements have been made at the shrine, which has opened for the third time since the Supreme Court allowed women of all age groups to offer prayers. It will remain open until 27 December.