Woman activist on her way to Sabarimala temple attacked with pepper spray

Activist Trupti Desai has also come to Kerala for another shot at making it to the hilltop shrine of Lord Ayyappa, nestled in the Western Ghats. Five more women, including Ms Desai, plan to trek to the shrine today.

Bindu Ammini, a woman activist, who attempted to trek to Sabrimala shrine in Kerala, was attacked with pepper spray outside Ernakulam city police commissioner’s office on Tuesday morning.

“A man sprayed chili and pepper at my face,” Ammini was quoted by news agency ANI as saying. She is one of the two women who had managed to pray at the Sabarimala shrine in January.

News agency IANS reports that after Ammini was spotted by Sabarimala devotees, they vented their anger by throwing chilly powder on her and after a brief verbal duel, she was taken out by the police from the Commissioner’s office, for medical attention.

Activist Trupti Desai has also reached Kochi in an attempt to visit Sabarimala Temple. Her arrival sparked off protests by Lord Ayyappa devotees. She has been kept at the Kochi City Police Commissioners office. She arrived with four other activists and has been in discussion with the top police officers requesting police protection to reach the temple.

“We’ll visit Sabarimala Temple today on Constitution Day. Neither state government nor the police can stop us from visiting the temple. Whether we get security or not we will visit the temple today,” Desai told ANI after landing in Kochi.

Though the Supreme Court gave a 3:2 verdict referring the Sabarimala review pleas to a larger seven-judge bench, it maintained that it has not stayed its September 28, 2018, order allowing women of all ages to enter the temple. However, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government has made its position clear that it will not make any effort to ensure the entry of women into the temple to pray. The tradition of the temple has been to ban the entry of women in the age group between 10 to 50.

The Sabarimala Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, opened on November 16 after two-month annual pilgrimage season. Tight security arrangements are in places in the Pathanamthitta district where the temple is situated.

Ahead of the opening, at least ten women of menstruating age (between the age of 10 to 50) were sent back by the police.