November 15, 2018
Women’s rights activist and Bhoomatha Brigade leader Trupti Desai’s announcement to visit Sabarimala in the wake of Supreme Court’s decision not to stay the verdict of women entry into Sabariala till January 22, has kicked up a double-edged row. One that there is growing protest against entry of women of all age groups to the shrine and the other that she has sought the state Government footing all her bills.
Triupti in a letter to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the DGP of Kerala has said she would be part of a seven-member team making it to the shrine on Saturday.
While expressing concern about the violence that may break out, she has requested police protection for her team till their safe return to Maharashtra.
She has made it clear that unlike other women devotees who withdrew half way or at the camp site of Pamba, she will not return from Sabarimala without worshipping. The Kerala Government should provide the team all security for this and also bear expenses for this.
The police protection team for her should be under direct control of the DGP.
Thing would have ended there as the demands were apparently reasonable, given the Supreme Court verdict and the Government duty-bound to provide the necessary security to young women pilgrims
But it is another part of her demands that has kicked up further row, leaving ground for those protesting against women in their menstrual age to worshipping there to suspect whether she is a ‘State-sponsored’ pilgrim to push the Government cause to ensure entry of young women.
Trupti wants the Government to bear the team’s expenditure right from food and accommodation to travel costs like taxi charge from airport to Sabarimala and back, something unheard of.
Online campaign lampooning the Government has become active stating communist government of Pinarayi “could have invited Trupti Desai as a state guest since it could not ensure any young woman’s entry to Sabarimala since the shrine had opened twice after the September 28 verdict”. Strong protests, often turning violent, despite a strong police force, had resulted a few women abandoning the trek to the shrine halfway or withdrawing in the face of mob fury.