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Sabarimala protests HIGHLIGHTS: Will come back, says activist Trupti Desai as she returns home

The Sabarimala temple has opened twice after the SC verdict, but no woman has been successfully able to enter the shrine so far.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: November 17, 2018 9:56:20 am
Trupti Desai, a women’s rights activist at the Cochin International Airport. (Express photo by Nithin R K)

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. The activist reached Mumbai on Saturday early morning while protesters gathered outside the airport.

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 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.

Live Blog

Sabarimala opens today for a two-month pilgrimage. Activist Trupti Desai attempts to enter the temple Saturday. Follow HIGHLIGHTS here. Read in Malayalam

05:18 (IST)17 Nov 2018
Trupti Desai should try going Sabarimala after attaining 50 yrs of age

"We've come here to protest. Trupti Desai should try going there after attaining 50 yrs of age and not before that. She won't be allowed to step inside the temple before that. There are so many devotees working towards this & stopping other women too," say protesters outside Mumbai airport. 

05:16 (IST)17 Nov 2018
Trupati Desai arrives in Mumbai, protesters gather outside airport
22:08 (IST)16 Nov 2018
Sabarimala protests: Who is the activist who arrived in Kerala this morning to attempt trekking temple?

Born in Nipani Taluka on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border, Desai’s family moved to Pune when she was eight. The eldest among the three siblings, Desai did her primary schooling in her mother’s village in Kolhapur. She was a home science student at Shrimathi Nathibai Damodar Thackersee College but discontinued in the first year due to family problems. Read full article 

21:14 (IST)16 Nov 2018
Kerala CM seeks co-operation from people to ensure peaceful two-month long pilgrimage season at Ayyappa temple amid Sabarimala protests

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought cooperation from everyone to ensure that the two-month-long pilgrimage season at the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, which began Friday, passes off peacefully. The government's aim is to uphold the esteem of the Sabarimala temple, he said. 'Any untoward incident would only mar the shrine's reputation and the media must exercise caution and not publish 'misinformation that cause disturbances,' Vijayan said in a Facebook post.

20:45 (IST)16 Nov 2018
Ayyappa Karma Samithi workers protest outside Desai's home in Pune

Ayyappa Karma Samithi workers conduct a namajapa yatra to Trupti Desai's home in Pune as a protest against her attempt to go to Sabarimala on Thursday. (Express photo by Pavan Khengre)(Express photo by Pavan Khengre)

20:19 (IST)16 Nov 2018
Trupti Desai vows to come back to Sabarimala

"People who indulge in hooliganism are not Ayyappa devotees. This protest is a sign that protesters are scared of me and this also proves my victory. This is a fight for gender equality and I extend my gratitude to all media organizations for supporting me. I'm not going because I'm scared but it is on the request of Kerala police citing security threats. I also thank Kerala police and I'll return to Sabarimala but without prior announcement," said Trupti Desai.

19:22 (IST)16 Nov 2018
It saddens me to see that Ayyappa devotees are abusing and threatening us: Trupti Desai

In an address to the media at Kochi airport, after being asked to return to Pune by the state police, Trupti Desai said, "Protestors threatened taxi drivers from providing us services. Hotel staff was threatened of damage to hotels if rooms were given to us. It saddens me to see that people who call themselves Ayyappa devotees are abusing & threatening us."

19:13 (IST)16 Nov 2018
Sabarimala protests: Rahul Easwar tweeted a video showing women protesting at Cochin airport during the day

Sabarimala Karma Samithi protests in Kochi Airport #SaveSabarimala Proud of these Mothers and sisters— Rahul Easwar (@RahulEaswar) November 16, 2018

18:57 (IST)16 Nov 2018
Trupti Desai arrived in Kochi airport this morning
18:37 (IST)16 Nov 2018
Kerala police have asked me to return to Pune, says activist Trupti Desai

Amid over a 12-hour stand-off with devotees and others, including BJP workers, at the airport here vowing not to let her proceed to the Sabarimala
shrine, activist Trupti Desai said police have asked her to return to Pune. The development comes even as the doors to the Lord Ayyappa temple opened for the "Mandala Makkaravillakku" puja. Desai said police officers held a meeting with her. "Police have requested me to return to Pune," she
told reporters. Desai said she will announce her decision by 6.30 pm.

18:02 (IST)16 Nov 2018
Sabarimala Karma Samithi protests against Trupti Desai in state capital
17:56 (IST)16 Nov 2018
Devotees throng to Sabarimala as shrine opens
17:53 (IST)16 Nov 2018
Asked by police to return to Pune, says Trupti Desai

Activist Trupti Desai, who is in Kochi en route to Sabarimala, says she has been asked by police to return to Pune. The activists have been held at the airport ever since she landed in Kochi to reach Sabarimala as the shrine opened. She faced a major protest at the airport by activists including Rahul Eshwar. 

17:45 (IST)16 Nov 2018
TDB decides to move SC seeking time to implement its verdict

The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the Sabarimala shrine, Friday decided to approach the Supreme Court seeking more time to implement its order allowing women in the menstrual age to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple. The decision was taken after discussion with legal experts and board members, TDB President A Padmakumar told reporters here, a day ahead of the commencement of the two-month long annual pilgrim season.

17:33 (IST)16 Nov 2018
PHOTOS: Protest will continue until Trupti Desai goes back, claims BJP state secretary

Credits: Kiran Gangadharan
Credits: Kiran Gangadharan
Credits: Kiran Gangadharan

17:06 (IST)16 Nov 2018
PHOTOS: Sabarimala temple opens for the Mandala-Makkaravillakku season
17:02 (IST)16 Nov 2018
Protesters chant Lord Ayyappa slogans outside Cochin airport
16:51 (IST)16 Nov 2018
Devotees throng Sabarimala base camp to begin trek and reach temple which opens tomorrow
16:47 (IST)16 Nov 2018
Will bring more supporters from other districts if needed: Kerala BJP secretary

Kerala BJP secretary K Surendran told that the protest will continue till she (Trupti Desai) go back. They will also try to bring more supporters from other districts if needed. 

15:59 (IST)16 Nov 2018
In Pics: Rahul Easwar among protesters that are gathered outside Cochin airport blocking exit for Trupti Desai

Protesters outside Cochin airport. (Credits: Nithin)
Credits: Kiran Gangadharan
Activist Rahul Easwar (Credits: Kiran Gangadharan)

Devotees at the Sabarimala shrine. (File/Express photo by Vishnu Varma)

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.

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