Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 16: Amid tight security, the Sabarimala temple opened for 62-day long MandalaPooja-Magaravilaku annual pilgrimage season on Friday.
The doors of the Lord Ayyappa shrine opened for the third time since the Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict, which allowed the women and girls aged between 10-50 years to offer prayers at the temple.
As a precautionary measure, section 144 (prohibits assembly of more than 4 people in an area) has been imposed in Nilakkal, Pamba, and Sannidhanam.
Meanwhile, after 13-hour standoff at Kochi airport, activist Trupti Desai agreed to return to her hometown Pune tonight.
She had written to Kerala government seeking security for her visit to Sabarimala Temple.
Speaking to media, Desai said “We reached Cochin Airport at 4:30 am. Protests were being held outside. We booked Taxi 2-3 times but drivers have been threatened that their vehicle will be vandalised if they offer us a drive. Police have said that we can’t go outside now”.
“Police tried to evacuate us from another gate but protesters were there as well. Protests being held here. Does this mean protesters are scared that we’ll reach Sabarimala once we reach Nilakkal, or, are they trying to scare us? We won’t return until we have ‘darshan'”, she added.
On the hand, BJP leader MN Gopi, who was outside the Cochin airport, told media that “Won’t allow Trupti Desai to go out from airport using police vehicle or other govt means.Airport taxies also won’t take her.If she wants, she can use her own vehicle.There will be agitations all along her way even if she goes out from airport”.
Meanwhile, Activist Rahul Easwar joined the protestors blocking Bhumata Brigade founder to leave for the temple visit.
Sabarimala Karma Samithi also held protest against Desai in Kerala’s Trivandrum.