- Trupti Desai stopped by hundreds of protesters at Kochi airport
- "Trupti Desai is an RSS activist": Kerala Minister VS Sunil Kumar said
- The activist said she has come to demand the right to equality
A Kerala minister on Friday said women rights activist Trupti Desai who has been blocked at Kochi airport is an RSS activist and she is being used by the BJP to further its political agenda in the state in the name of Lord Ayyappa, the deity at Sabarimala temple.
Ms Desai, who wants to offer prayers at the hill shrine, has been stopped by hundreds of protesters at the Kochi airport since she landed at 4:30 am.
"Trupti Desai is an RSS activist. Behind her plans to enter the temple, there is the thinking of RSS," Kerala Minister VS Sunil Kumar told NDTV.
The minister who belongs to the CPI, the second biggest constituent after the CPI(M) in the Left-led government in the state said the BJP, its ideological mentor RSS and the Congress have come together to "fight" the state government.
"But their fight is against the Supreme Court," he said.
The Supreme Court in a historic ruling in September allowed women of all ages to enter the temple, lifting a ban on the decades-old custom of keeping the women of menstruating age off the bounds of the hill shrine.
The minister asked why the activists of the BJP or RSS hadn't stopped Ms Desai in her hometown Pune.
"She started from Pune. Why the RSS-BJP workers are trying to stop her at Kochi airport? Why are they stopping her in Kerala only?," the minister asked.
Responding to the minister's statements, Ms Desai told NDTV: "I have no interest in politics, and I request the leader not to defame us. The RSS-BJP activists are protesting against us."
The activist said the she has come to demand the right to equality. "If your government cannot ensure that, please at least don't insult us," she said.
The minister said 99 per cent of those who have been protesting against the Sabarimala order are "not devotees" but "hard-core BJP-RSS workers."
He said the RSS and the BJP want to use "Lord Ayyappa" the deity of Sabarimala, the way they have used "Lord Ram" to further their political agenda in North India.
Ms Desai, founder of the Bhumata Brigade, an organisation that fights for women's rights had written to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and state police chief about her plans to visit the shrine and sought police protection during her visit to the state from today.