Who is Trupti Desai?

Erika Holt
November 18, 2018

Hundreds of thousands of devotees were expected to make the four-hour trek up a hill to Sabarimala during the festival, which lasts until mid-January.

As the Temple reopened on Friday for a two-month long pilgrimage season, Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was imposed in Nilakkal, Pamba, and Sannidhanman as a precautionary measure. "I believe govt will provide us security". Desai has also become a laughing stock among the devotees because of a list of demands she placed before the state while announcing her visit to Sabarimala.

Speaking about the episode at the Cochin Airport, Desai said, "Protesters were resorting to violence, to hooliganism, they should not have done that. We have to get an assurance that the government will not allow women till the Supreme Court takes up review pleas", said BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai even as the tantri's family hailed the TDB move.

Meanwhile, the temple's Devaswom board will hold a meeting at 10 am in Trivandrum to decision on whether to file an interim petition in the apex court.

Bhoomatha Brigade leader Trupti Desai and six other women, who had declared that they would have darshan at Sabarimala on Saturday come what may, could not venture beyond Kochi airport after the Kerala government refused to ensure their security. "She will have to step on our chests and walk over us if she wants to enter Sabarimala Temple", said Activist Rahul Easwar.

Desai knew the groundswell in favour of keeping the ban, and the public wrath against her visit, but was so keen on visiting the temple against all odds that she did not even book a return flight.

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Heavy police deployment has been made in and around Sabarimala temple. The ban is practiced for ages, based on such a tradition, but was ruled as discriminatory by Supreme Court recently. They need time to arrange facilities for women.

But with the government and TDB softening its posture there is relief all around. "The government should have used its energy in rebuilding flood-ravaged base camps rather than burning its fingers on women entry", said a Nagraj Reddy, a small-time trader from Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh, who had reached Erumeli, a small town in the foothills, on Thursday but was blocked by police the whole day and allowed to move a day after. Several political parties and leaders took offence to the decision and the clamour to reverse the order has only increased since then.

Indian police mounted a huge security operation on Friday (Nov 16) to ensure women can safely access a flashpoint Hindu temple, after battles erupted the first time they attempted to enter following an historic court ruling.

2,300 personnel reportedly guarded Sabarimala and nearby areas on November 5. The court clarified that its September order will continue to be in force.

The court had, earlier on October 9, declined an urgent hearing on the challenge by an association which called the Sabarimala order "absolutely untenable, irrational and perverse".

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