SABARIMALA: Trupti Desai seeks police protection to visit Sabarimala on November 17; likely, she gets it

NEWS / SABARIMALA / TRUPTI

NEW DELHI/TVM:  Women causes activist Trupti Desai, who successfully campaigned for entry of women to the Sani temple in Maharashtra, has said she would be reaching Sabarimala with a team of six women activists to offer prayers at the Sree Ayyappa temple on November 17. “I will not leave Kerala until I get the opportunity to offer prayers at the Sabarimala temple,” she said on Wednesday. 

Trupti, 35, has written letters to the Kerala chief minster Pinarayi Vijayan and the state DGP Loknath Behera to provide her and her team fully security as also transport to reach Sabarimala “from the time” she entered Kerala and “till the time she stayed there”. 

November 17, Saturday, is when the Sabarimala temple opens for the Mandala pooja, followed by the top-billed annual event the Makara Vilakku Mahotsavam, running into mid January next. Reports said over 800 women have so far booked online for prayers at Sabarimala Sannidhanam. It was not clear as to how many of these were in the “restricted” age-group of 10 and 50. Quite a few definitely are, as per unconfirmed reports.

It was in 2016 that Pune – based activist Trupti Desai led other women activists to the Shani Singnapur temple in Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, where a 60-year-old tradition had barred women’s entry to the temple. The tradition stands broken.

All eyes are meanwhile on the all-party meeting that the chief minister would be holding in his chamber on Thursday to discuss the Sabarimala situation. From the tone and tenor of the CM Wednesday, it appeared that he would not step back from his support for entry of women of all ages to the Sabarimala temple. 

“The BJP, the Congress and other protesters would seek a consensus, meaning that the CM step back from his stand, and not allow young women’s entry to Sabarimala. Notably, the consensus they seek does not mean they are ready to take a step back. This will turn out to be another joke,” a CPI(M) insider said. 

WHO IS TRUPTI?

Trupti Desai is a gender-equality activist who founded the Bhumata Brigade in 2010 to fight for this and other causes.

Born in Nipani taluk in Karnataka, she had a difficult childhood. Her father abandoned the family when she was a little girl, and he took to sanyas. Her mother brought her up with great difficulty. Her studies too were affected.

Trupti studied home science at the SNDST women’s university campus in Pune, with support from her siblings. After first year there, she could not continue her studies.

In 2006, she led a team of activists to the Sani temple, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, and succeeded in breaking a tradition of preventing women’s entry to the shrine. The Bombay high court ruled that it was women’s right to do so.

The activist married entrepreneur and activist Prashant Desai in 2006, and they have one son. 

From year 2003, she was actively involved in rehabilitation of slum dwellers, and campaigns against corruption. In 2009, she led protests against corruption in a cooperative bank.

On such an issue, she was arrested in 2013 for slapping an effigy of NCP leader Ajit Pawar who was then deputy chief minister. She was released immediately. Since 2011, she actively participated in the India Against Corruption movement led by Arvind Kejriwal and others. 

After her success at the Sani temple, she made a similar bid to enter the Mahalakshmi temple in Kolhapur, where the priests allegedly manhandled her.

She had also made a partly successful attempt to enter the Dargah at Haji Ali, where women entry had been restricted until the Supreme Court intervened in the matter. There, she could not enter the inner part of the dargah. –IHN-NN

INDIA HERE AND NOW http://www.indiahereandnow.com email: indianow999@gmail.com 

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