Ernakulam: Gender activist Trupti Desai and six others who arrived in Kerala’s Kochi airport for visiting Sabarimala temple against a ritualistic ban, have not been able to exit the airport for the last two hours because of protests. The protesters have waylaid the exit terminal of the domestic arrival compound, interrupting the operations of the airport itself.
Television reports showed protesters chanting “Ayyappa" and holding a sit-down dharna outside the arrival gate of the airport.
Desai, who arrived in an Indigo flight from Pune, has been pleading with drivers of pre-paid taxis and online taxi services at the airport, but they refused to take her out of the airport fearing attack from protesters, local reports said. She had earlier requested Kerala’s police department to provide security until the temple, but the police did not comply.
The protestors initially wanted to only register their disapproval of the visit. But they have now grown in numbers and threatened to not allow Desai step outside the airport, television reports showed. The protestors are largely connected to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its youth outfit, Yuva Morcha, who are spearheading the agitations against allowing women to Sabarimala, despite Supreme Court recently ruling the ban on women discriminatory.
Desai, who led successful campaigns to break such women-entry taboos in Maharashtra, refused to budge. “We won’t leave Kerala until we step inside the temple," Desai said to local news channel Asianet News.