Thou­sand­sprotest Sabari­mala or­der asshrine­toopenon­wed

Ten­sion builds af­ter ac­tivist Trupti De­sai an­nounces plans to visit tem­ple in Ker­ala

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent & Agen­cies

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With three days left for the Sabari­mala tem­ple to open for monthly poo­jas, thou­sands of Ayyappa devo­tees took to the streets in Kochi on Satur­day against the Supreme Court ver­dict al­low­ing women of all age groups into Sabari­mala tem­ple, even as ac­tivist Trupti De­sai an­nounced plans to visit the hill shrine soon.

The Com­mu­nist Party of In­dia (Marx­ist)-led Left Demo­cratic Front (LDF) govern­ment, which de­cided to im­ple­ment the Supreme Court rul­ing, held a meet­ing to eval­u­ate prepa­ra­tions car­ried out for pil­grims ar­riv­ing at the tem­ple which will open for monthly poo­jas on Wed­nes­day.

Al­though the govern­ment has not re­acted to De­sai’s planned trip to the tem­ple, it has evoked sharp re­ac­tions from devo­tees and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is cam­paign­ing against the en­try of women into the shrine.

Sasiku­mar Varma, mem­ber of

Padalam’s ex-royal, crit­i­cised De­sai and urged the so­cial ac­tivist to re­frain from mak­ing any “provoca­tive” move. He urged the Left govern­ment to take steps to pre­vent any law-and-or­der sit­u­a­tion.

De­sai, the Bhu­mata Bri­gade leader, said in Mum­bai that she along with a group of women will visit the tem­ple “shortly” to of­fer prayers. “We will visit Sabari­mala shortly. The on­go­ing ag­i­ta­tion by devo­tees is the vi­o­la­tion of the Supreme Court ver­dict. I ap­peal agi­tat­ing devo­tees to wel­come those women who come for wor­ship at the hill shrine. I want

to ask the Congress and the BJP whether they are against the fun­da­men­tal rights of women. The par­ties should also ex­plain their stand on this,” De­sai said.

CON­TIN­UED ON P 8

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