27/11/2019 9:59 AM IST

Trupti Desai Cancels Sabarimala Visit As Kerala Police Refuses Protection

The Kerala government has called Desai's attempt to visit the Sabarimala temple a "conspiracy".

STR via Getty Images
Bhumata Brigade chief and social activist for gender equality Trupti Desai along with other activists speaks to the media, after a failed attempt to visit Sabarimala temple, in Kochi on November 26, 2019. 

Activist Trupti Desai, who was leading a team of activists who planned to visit Sabarimala in Kerala, cancelled their visit on Tuesday night after police refused to offer protection. 

The decision comes after Bindu Ammini, one of the first two women to enter Sabarimala, was attacked with chilli spray outside the police commissioner’s office in Kerala. 

Desai waited for 15 hours, even as a group of right-wing activists, who are against the entry of women of menstrual age into the temple, also held their ground. 

Desai said that she decided to go back after the police said her leaving the airport could create problems. “We had discussions with the police officers of the Kochi police commissionerate. Police told us that there is a threat to our life and will be insecure here. So we decided to go back but we will return to Sabarimala. We will continue our fight,” PTI quoted her as saying

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However Desai said that she had not planned to visit Sabarimala secretly and had written to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the DGP, informing them of her visit. 

“We did not plan to come here secretly. We had sent an email to the Kerala Chief Minister and DGP, informing them about our visit. We even booked the tickets online to visit the temple. If there was any problem, why weren’t we informed about it before we arrived here?” Desai was quoted by TheNewsMinute as saying

Desai and other activist of the Bhumata Brigade had reached Kochi in the early hours of Tuesday to offer praters at Sabarimala. Soon after landing, they went to the city police commissionerate seeking protection to proceed to the hill shrine. This is when Bindu Ammini was attached by an alleged right-wing activist with chilli spray. 

The police, however, told them they would not be given protection, citing the recent Supreme Court decision to review its 2018 order permitting women in all age groups into Sabarimala. 

A large number of Ayyappa devotees, activists of the BJP and Sabarimala Karma Samiti gathered outside the commissionerate chanting ‘Ayyappa Saranam’ mantras protesting against Desai’s visit.

This is when Bindu Ammini was attacked and had to be admitted to hospital. She has now been discharged. PTI reported that Desai condemned the attack on Bindu Ammini.

Meanwhile, the Kerala government, that had last year supported the entry of women in the hill shrine, now called Desai’s attempt to visit Sabarimala a “conspiracy”. Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran alleged conspiracy behind Desai’s decision to visit Sabarimala.

“The government suspects a conspiracy behind Trupti Desai’s decision to go to Sabarimala. She has come from Pune, a stronghold of the RSS and the BJP,” the minister told reporters at Thalassery.

Surendran alleged the move was to create trouble during a peaceful pilgrimage season in Sabarimala.

 The CPI(M)-led LDF government condemned the attack on Ammini but made it clear that no women in the age group of 10 and 50 would be given police protection to climb the holy hills unless they get an order from the Supreme Court

(With PTI inputs)