Kochi: After 14 hours of confusion and tension at the Kochi international airport at Nedumbassery, women’s rights activist Trupti Desai, chose to return to Pune without offering prayers at Sabarimala temple on Friday.
Hundreds of protesters chanting Ayyappa hymns remained outside blocking her from emerging out of the arrival terminal of the airport.
“We are going back not because we are afraid of the protests staged by them, but because the Kerala police has requested us. They said if we continue our journey or stay here, there will be violence and disruption of law and order. To break the law and order is not our motive anyway. And we don’t want the citizens of Kerala to suffer because of this,” Ms Desai told media at the airport before boarding a flight bound for Mumbai.
“It’s very sad to be back to Pune from where we had earlier declared that we would not come back without having darshan at Sabarimala temple,” she said.
She also said that they will come back after some days to offer prayers at the temple. “Earlier, we had publicly announced about our pilgrimage, but we won’t do that again,” she told the media. Ms Desai had stuck to her decision to visit the temple during the whole day.
Mob gathered even before Desai’s landing
Ms Desai and six other women pilgrims, all aged under 50, had landed at the airport by an Indigo flight from Pune at 4.40 a.m. The group of seven could not even step out of the airport for almost 14 hours as there was a huge protest outside the domestic arrival section at the airport. The number of protestors kept increasing every minute.
The gathering, organised by the BJP, had started long before Ms Desai landed at the airport.
Several teams of police personnel led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police J. Himendranath were deployed at the airport since morning. Ms Desai had planned to take a cab from the airport to Kottayam from where she was to proceed to Sabarimala on Saturday. But no prepaid taxi operator was willing to take her anticipating the violent protest on the way.
“Recently, a group of protestors had attacked the car of our colleague which was carrying a television channel reporter and cameraman to Pampa. But no one, including the transportation network company claimed the loss and gave any compensation,” an online taxi driver said. “We are afraid of an attack in the same way if we carry them to Kottayam,” he added.
The cops also tried for a couple of hours to find a private taxi to transport her to Kottayam but no one was willing.