Woman activist proceeding to Sabarimala temple attacked

Kochi: A woman activist, who is part of a team headed for Sabarimala to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa Shrine, was allegedly attacked by a member of a Hindu outfit here today.

Bindu Ammini, who created history by visiting Sabarimala temple last year following the Apex Court order, was part of the team led by gender rights activist Trupti Desai.

Ammini was attacked by the member of a Hindu outfit using pepper or chilli spray outside the police commissionerate. The man identified as Srinath Padmanabhan was taken into custody, police said.

Visuals aired by TV channels showed her being attacked. She has been taken to a hospital here, sources said.
A large number of Ayyappa devotees gathered outside the commissionerate protested against Desai and other activists.

Earlier, Trupti Desai reached the city to proceed to Sabarimala to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa shrine along with few other activists.

However, they were taken to the city police commissionerate as soon as they landed at the airport here.

Desai said they preferred 26 November to visit the shrine as it was the Constitution Day.

She said she has come up with the 2018 order of the Supreme Court permitting entry of women of all age groups into the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. “I will leave Kerala only after offering prayers at the shrine,” the activist said.

The Pune-based Desai had made an unsuccessful attempt to enter the temple in November last year, weeks after the Supreme Court lifted the ban that prevented women and girls between the age of 10 and 50 from entering the famous shrine.

The Kerala government has decided not to allow women in the menstrual age group to the temple following the recent Supreme Court decision to review its earlier judgment.