Holding placards bearing pictures of Lord Ayyappa and chanting hymns, protesters marched through the busy roads of Kochi, the state’s commercial hub, after launching the stir from a Shiva temple there. The faithful, a large number of them women, urged the Central and state governments to intervene in the matter to protect the sanctity of the centuries-old rituals and traditions of the shrine.
Meanwhile, the march led by Bjp-headed National Democratic Alliance reached Kollam district on Saturday. BJP state president, PS Sreedharan Pillai, who led the rally, said Desai was visiting Sabarimala as she perceived it to be a challenge rather than a pilgrimage.
“It is a dangerous approach. She should desist from visiting the shrine and should not make Sabarimala a tension zone. I do not know if she is a devotee or not. But she is coming to add fuel to the fire,” Pillai said.
Claiming that the NDA rally was getting tremendous support from all sections of people, the leader said the march would reach Thiruvananthapuram on October 15.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena’s Thiruvananthapuram district secretary Peringamala Aji threatened mass immolation if women try to break the age-old tradition of the temple. “Our women workers are ready to die. We can’t digest such an insult. The Kerala government and Travancore Devasom Board are playing with fire,” he said. Though Shiv Sena has little following in the state the party has been taking a belligerent stand on Sabariamala issue since the verdict.
Activist Rahul Easwar, who announced a hunger strike at Sabarimala during the five-day monthly pooja period, said they will stop Trupti Desai if she attempts to visit the temple.