Amidst strong sentiments against the Supreme Court's verdict allowing women in the 10-50 age group into the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala, gender equality activist Trupti Desai said on Saturday that she was still determined to visit it.
"We will announce a date very soon to visit the Sabarimala Temple as the apex court has upheld the fundamental rights of women... There should be no attempt to stop us because we now have equal rights," Ms Desai said while speaking to a Malayalam TV channel in Mumbai. She has played a major role in opening up to women shrines like Mumbai's Haji Ali dargah that were hitherto closed to them.
Reacting sharply to the remarks of the activist who is also the founder of the Pune-based Bhumata Brigade, Kerala Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President PS Sreedharan Pillai said that Ms Desai should not challenge the emotions and feelings of the devotees of the temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.
"In the best interest of all, she should not venture out to challenge the feelings of thousands of devotees who have taken the apex court ruling as a shock...," Mr Pillai, who is leading a march in protest against the September 28 ruling to the state capital from Alappuzha, told the media on Saturday.
Rahul Eashwar, a member of the Sabarimala tantric family requested Ms Desai to desist from coming to the temple.
"We will be staging a protest in true Gandhian style if there is any attempt to break the traditions and culture of the temple. We request her to pray in other Ayyappa temples in the state and not at the Sabarimala temple," Mr Eashwar told the media.
The temple doors will open on October 18 for its routine monthly pujas
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's government and the Travancore Devasom Board - the custodian of the temple -- have ruled out filing a review petition against the apex court's order, saying that they would abide by the ruling.
The Left Democratic Front, led by the CPI-M, has also decided to launch counter-political rallies across the state, against the stand of the Congress-led opposition, the BJP and other Hindu organisations who are demanding an ordinance to be floated to counter the top court ruling.
The women's wing of the BJP, Mahila Morcha, will also stage a special prayer protest session starting on October 17 at the various entry points of the Sabarimala Temple.
Lathika Subash, President of the Kerala Mahila Congress, on Saturday pleaded with all those are trying to break the traditions of the Sabarimala, not to attempt to visit the temple.
"The Congress party has always kept out religion from politics and hence we request nothing should be done to affect the feelings of the devotees," said Ms Subash.
The Sabarimala tantri family has filed a review petition against the top court order, requesting that there should be no dilution of the traditions of the temple.
The top court will hear the petition on October 28.