Devotees throng Indian flashpoint temple, but no women

Sabarimala temple A rallying point for the Hindu far right

Hindu hardliners are opposing women entering the temple despite the Supreme Court orders

She arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai after calling off her plan to visit the Lord Ayyappa shrine over concerns of law and order and said that next time she will follow "guerrilla tactics" to reach there.

Earlier on October 19, Trupti Desai was detained by the Pune Police after she along with other women activists threatened to stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi's convoy.

The team had to wait for the entire day inside the airport as no cab driver agreed to take her team to their destination - Sabarimala temple. Or are they trying to scare us?

Speaking about the episode at the Cochin Airport, Desai said, "Protesters were resorting to violence, to hooliganism, they should not have done that". Along with her, BJP leader P Sudhir was also arrested.

Late on Thursday, the state government called a meeting of all political parties in a bid to reach an agreement on letting women into the temple on certain days.

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Desai had spearheaded the campaign for women to be allowed into various religious places including Shani Shingnapur temple, the Haji Ali Dargah, the Mahalakshmi Temple and the Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple.

"Protests are being held outside the airport and the police have said that we can't go outside now", she told Reuters. Desai remained confined at the airport after her arrival early morning en route to Sabarimala as protesters, including BJP workers, remained firm that Desai and six other young women who accompanied her would not be allowed to the temple. Though a huge police posse under J. Himendranath, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Kochi City, was deployed at the airport, never did they exert force against the protesters to make way for the women pilgrims. "She publicised the time, date", said police sources. We made a decision to return as we didn't want violence due to us.

Bhoomatha Brigade leader and activist Trupti Desai will return without visiting sabarimala temple. The temple has a ritualistic ban for menstrual age women which, despite being struck down as discriminatory by the Supreme Court recently, has many takers in Kerala, who have taken to the streets to uphold the ban.

"Sasikala was detained as the police had instructed that devotees will be not allowed to stay around the temple at night, which she insisted", Kerala police spokesman Pramod Kumar told AFP.

The Sabarimala temple and surrounding areas witnessed a string of protests recently over the Supreme Court's decision to quash restrictions on the entry of females aged between 10 and 50 years into the shrine. The rule violated women's right to equality and right to worship, said the 4-1 verdict of the Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

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