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Sabarimala row: Tension prevails at Kochi airport as Trupti Desai arrives to visit temple

Over hundred protestor gather outside Cochin International airport. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 16, 2018, 08.18 AM (IST)

Hundreds of protestors chanting Ayyapa hymns gathered outside Kochin airport on Friday as social activist Trupti Desai who has vowed to enter Sabarimala temple on November 17 arrived from Pune.

According to reports, as protestors agitated against the activist, Trupti Desai has been forced to stay inside the airprot. She is also said to have not been allowed to move out from the arrival terminal.

Also read: Kerala govt wonders if women can visit Sabarimala temple on separate days from men

Trupti Desai had said that she along with six other young women would offer prayers at the shrine on November 17. She has also written to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to seek protection from the state government after she allegedly faced death threats.

"Protestors should not resort to violence. Once we reach there, we'll see what level of security state gives us. Even if the state doesn't give us any security, we'll still go, but I can be attacked. I have received so many threats of attack & killing, " Trupti Desai said.

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The BJP leader, MN Gopi has said that they will not allow Desai to come out from the airport using a police vehicle or other government means.

"Won't allow Trupti Desai to go out from the airport using police vehicle or other government means. Airport taxies also will not 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 an airport, MN Gopi said.

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The Sabarimala temple will reopen at 5 pm today with unprecedented security for the two-month-long annual pilgrim season. The temple is opening for the third time since the Supreme Court lifted the age-old ban on entry of women in 10-50 age group, though no girl or woman in the age group has been allowed to offer prayers so far following stiff resistance by devotees and activists, opposing any change in the temple traditions.

Devotees will be allowed into the shrine from 5 pm to 10 pm but pujas will be held only from the next day, the first day of Malayalam month of 'Vrischikom', PTI reported.

Officials has also said prohibitory orders under section 144 Criminal Procedure Code banning assembly of four or more people would be in force in Sabarimala from midnight Thursday for a week.

State Director General of Police Loknath Behara informed reporters on Thurday that security has been doubled at Sabarimala and nearby areas for the season, compared to the previous two occasions when the temple opened last month and early this month.

Over 15,000 personnel, including women police personnel and 860 women civil police officers, has been deployed for the season, when lakhs of devotees from different parts of the country are expected to throng the shrine, police said.

Frenzied devotees had prevented at least a dozen women in 10-50 age group from entering the temple when it opened for five days last month and two days this month for monthly and special puja amid high drama.

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Devotees will be allowed into the shrine from 5 pm to 10 pm, pujas will be held only from the next day, the first day of Malayalam month of 'Vrischikom', PTI reported.