The stalemate at the Cochin International Airport Limited at Nedumbassery over the arrival of gender equality activist Trupti Desai, on her way to Sabarimala, crossed the five-hour mark with neither she nor the protesting activists who are resolved not to let her leave the domestic terminal willing to back down.
Ms. Desai and six other women, all aged below 50, who had arrived by an Indigo flight from Pune at 4. 40 am remain trapped in the terminal since then in the face of stiff protest from Ayyappa hymn-chanting protesters whose number kept on swelling all the time. Protesters have positioned in front of all exit routes to thwart any potential police move to spirit her away through one of those exits.
Leaders of BJP and its feeder organisations are busy coordinating the protest. R.V. Babu of Hindu Aikya Vedi, asserted that the protesters wanted to “avoid a confrontation” and urged Ms. Desai to drop the plan and return to Maharashtra.
BJP district secretary M.N. Gopi said Ms. Desai has no other way but to return dropping her plan to undertake Sabarimala pilgrimage. “No online taxi driver has come forward to take her and the devotees will not allow her to be taken outside the airport on a police vehicle. We are organising the arrival of more protesters to the airport.”