Sabarimala: Cops stop Trupti Desai;Bindu Ammini in hosp

Bindu Ammini, who was attacked using a pepper or chilly spray at Kochi on Tuesday, has been hospitalised.

Activist Bindu Ammini is being escorted by police after a protest by various Hindu organizations outside police commissioner's office, in Kochi, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. (PTI photo)

The Kerala police on Tuesday declined Bhumata Brigade leader Trupti Desai's request for police protection to visit Sabarimala Ayyappa temple. The police also did not allow her to proceed to the hill shrine by her own in the wake of strong protest by Hindu activists.

The day witnessed tense moments with Bindu Ammini, who entered Sabarimala temple earlier this year, suffering chilly spray attack by a Hindu activist and scores of Hindu activists, including women, chanting Ayyappa mantras in protest against Trupti.

The police prevented Sabarimala visit of Trupti in view of Kerala left-front government's stand not to allow women in 10-50 age group to the hill shrine until the Supreme Court's larger bench takes a decision on allowing women of all ages to the shrine of Lord Ayyappa, considered to be a celibate.

Trupti, along with five other women, all in 10-50 age group, reached Nedumbasserry airport in Kochi from Pune by around 4.30 a.m. Trupti claimed that she had sent a letter to the Kerala Chief Minister and the state police chief seeking protection. Since the police personnel at the airport declined her request for providing security, she headed to the Kochi city police commissioner office by around 6.30 am.

Hindu activists who came across this thronged to the commissioner office to prevent Trupti from going to the temple and started raising Ayyappa chants.

In the meantime, Bindu Ammini, who arrived at the commissioner office by around 7.30 a.m. to support Trupti, suffered a chilly spray attack on her face. As Bindu was proceeding to the commissioner office from her cab, a person walked towards her and swiftly applied chilly spray on her face. Even as Bindu tried to resist the attack, he managed to spray chilly on her face and ran away.

As the incident that took place on police commissionerate premises triggered widespread resentment, the police swiftly nabbed the accused, identified as Sreenath of Hindu Helpline, a voluntary outfit. Bindu was taken to the district government hospital. She did not suffer any major health issues owing to the chilly spray. Police later shifted her to a safe place.

By around 10 a.m. senior police officers including Kochi additional commissioner DIG K P Philip reached the commissionerate and informed Trupti that police protection could not be provided.

Mr. Philip told DH that Trupti and others were clearly informed that the police could not provide security to visit Sabarimala in view of the government's stand and Trupti and others would not be allowed to proceed by their own to the temple as it would affect their safety. The police assured them to provide security up to the airport to return to Pune, he said.

Police sources said that if Trupti and others make any attempt to proceed to Sabarimala, the option of preventive arrest to avoid law and order problem would be exercised. They were remaining at the commissioner office itself.

The Hindu activists withdrew their protest in front of the commissionerate by noon as some police officials conveyed that Trupti and others would not be allowed to proceed to Sabarimala. 

Trupti earlier told a section of media that she opted this day for Sabarimala temple visit as it was the Constitution Day. The Constitution gives right of equality and right to pray, which were being denied at Sabarimala, she said.

Trupti was learnt to have booked a time slot on the Sabarimala virtual queue portal for the temple darshan this time.

It was Trupti's second attempt to visit the hill shrine. After the SC lifted the ban on entry of women in 10-50 age to the temple last year, Trupti came down to Kerala in last November to visit the temple. But owing to the stiff resistance by hundreds of Hindu activists at the airport, Trupti was not even allowed by the police to come out of the airport.

The police on Saturday declined request of activist Rehana Fathima to visit Sabarimala temple.

DIG Philip said that Trupti Desai agreed to return by Tuesday night flight to Pune. They were being taken to the airport with tight police protection.

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