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'Won't come back till I enter Sabarimala'

November 16, 2018 10:38 IST

'If we do not enter the temple, then history won't be made and all wrong rituals will get continue to be followed.'
'If they resort to violence against women and abuse them, how can they be Ayyappa Swamy's bhakts?'

On September 28, 2018, the Supreme Court delivered a historic verdict permitting women in the age group of 10 to 50 to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

Earlier, only girls below the age of 10 and women above the age of 50 -- who were not menustrating -- were allowed to worship at the Ayyappa shrine in south Kerala.

Soon after the judgment, large-scale protests erupted in the Sabarimala area as some women devotees belonging to the traditionally 'barred' age group tried to make their way to the temple.

Despite police protection, these women could not enter the shrine.

Trupti Desai, who successfully entered the Shani Shingnapur temple and the Haji Ali dargah in Maharashtra, has left for Sabarimala.

"I am ready to sacrifice my life for this cause," Desai, below, who heads the Bhumata Brigade, told's Syed Firdaus Ashraf on Friday.

What kind of security measures are you expecting from the Kerala government?

We have mailed a letter to the Kerala chief minister (Pinarayi Vijayan) and also to the DGP (director general of police) about our visit to the Sabarimala temple.

So far I have not got any response from them, but I have heard that they are not ready to give us any kind of VIP security.

I want to tell them that we do not want any VIP security, but when we have been threatened with our lives, we have asked for normal (police) protection.

But, if in spite of the Supreme Court order we do not get security and we are attacked on the way to Sabarimala, who will be responsible for it?

Will the Kerala chief minister or the DGP be the responsible for any attack?


Why do you want to enter the temple in the face of so much opposition?

After the Supreme Court decision came out, the Sabarimala temple was open only for six days.

After that, the temple was open only for two days.

Now the Sabarimala temple will be open till January, so there is more time to visit the temple this time.

Already 500 women have done online booking to enter the temple.

These all women are in the age group of 10 to 50.

I have decided that I will not come back from Kerala to Maharashtra till I enter Sabarimala.

I don't have a return ticket booked from Kerala to Maharashtra.

Don't you feel that you should wait for some more time since the review petitions on the Sabarimala issue in the apex court is coming up for hearing in January?
Don't you think your attempt to enter the temple will create a law and order problem in Kerala?

We are not creating a law and order problem.

It is the protesters who are creating a law and order problem.

The Supreme Court order came on September 28 and those who do not believe this order, they have filed review petitions.

I have a simple answer to those people who oppose the entry of women in Sabarimala, that since the review petition is coming up for hearing in January they must allow women to enter the Sabarimala temple till then.

Whatever decision the Supreme Court takes in January we will abide by it.

But legally, at this moment, women can enter the Sabarimala temple and nobody can stop us or indulge in violence.

How many women from your team will attempt to enter Sabarimala?

There are seven women including me right now from Maharashtra who want to enter the Sabarimala temple.

We are not at all scared to enter the temple because this is our right.

I am ready to sacrifice my life for this cause because the people who oppose our entry have a different kind of mindset.

We are fighting against that mentality.

Be it Shani Shingnapur, Haji Ali or the Mahalakshmi temple, we were attacked there too.

Here, in Sabarimala, we feel that if we do not enter the temple then history won't be made and all wrong rituals will get continue to be followed.

To the protesters of Sabarimala, I will say that if they want to protest they can protest in a Gandhian way, but not resort to violence.

If they resort to violence against women and abuse them, how can they be Ayyappa Swamy's bhakts?

Devotees say Ayyappa does not want women in the age group of 10 to 50 to enter the temple.

Ayyappa Swamy never said such things.

No God has discriminated against man and woman.

Nowhere it is written in the Puranas that women in the age group of 10 to 50 must not enter the temple or for that matter menstruating women are not allowed inside (any temple).

This is done by men who do not want women to come up.

They want to give women secondary status in life.

They are stopping women from entering the Sabarimala temple by dadagiri and goondagiri.

Nowhere has Ayyapa Swamy discriminated against his devotees, and he will never do that.

You proved your point at Shani Shingnapur, then at Haji Ali too. Some people say you are doing all this for publicity.

Earlier too, I had stated that I will go to the Sabarimala temple.

I waited for more than a month after the Supreme Court judgment and you have seen that different women tried to enter the temple.

It wasn't me who tried to enter the temple first.

I am putting my life in danger, then how can anyone say that I am doing a publicity stunt?

We are fighting for our rights and such allegations are only a conspiracy to defame women.

Devotees say they will guard the temple for 60 days till the review petition comes up for hearing.

The Supreme Court has given rights to women to enter the Sabarimala temple.

It is the police who should take action against the people who do not allow us to enter Sabarimala.

Protesters have a right to protest, but they can only protest in Gandhian ways, but they are not doing that.

They attack women and resort to violence which is not right.

When you went to Shani Shingnapur and then later to Haji Ali, such large-scale violence did not exist. What is difference between those places and the Sabarimala temple?

In Maharashtra, when the (Bombay) high court gave an order -- be it for Shani Shingnapur or the Haji Ali dargah -- the trustees of those places welcomed the order.

Though some people did protest and locals (women) said they are not going inside Shani Shingnapur or Haji Ali, but women (outsiders) who want to go inside, they will let them go.

So, we went inside Shani Shingnapur and Haji Ali.

In Sabarimala, local women do not want us to enter and they want all of us also to wait (till the age of 50) because they believe that this is their tradition.

I feel that those who do not want women to enter the Sabarimala temple are the contractors of Dharma. Nowhere has Lord Ayyappa has discriminated between men and women.

Do you think you will succeed in Sabarimala just as you succeeded in Shani Shingnapur and Haji Ali?

I am sure about our success.

Already 500 women in the age group of 10 to 50 have done online booking at the Devasthanam board for a darshan.

Have they got the permission?

They have not got permission, but they have done the booking.

Now when they reach the Sabarimala temple, it is the job of the government to give these women protection.

Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai