The heavy security had a single goal: preparing for the moment when women once barred from the temple might attempt to enter. So far 3,505 protestors have been arrested and around 529 cases were registered in connection with a series of incidents of violence that erupted in the state over the entry of women into the Lord Ayyappa temple. "The government, using the police force, is creating a terror-like atmosphere in the name of ensuring security of the Lord Ayyappa shrine", he alleged.
India's Supreme Court ruled in September that all females, including those of menstruating age, could enter the shrine perched in a tiger reserve in the southern state of Kerala. Earlier, the entry of female aged between 10 and 50 years was prohibited into the shrine. Meanwhile, women who have publicly stated their intention to visit the shrine have faced intimidation and threats.
Desai never made it out of the airport in the city of Kochi, which is almost 100 miles from the temple. However, Desai declined to reveal her final plans for the time being.
In all the places, the protesters were seen clapping and chanting "Swamiyae Ayyappa".
Numerous protesters were women opposed to the Supreme Court's interference in matters of Hindu observance. If these women "are to reach the temple, they will have to walk over our bodies". This protest is a sign that protesters are scared of me and this also proves my victory. Surendran is now being held at Kottarakara sub-jail.
Hindus carrying customary offerings on their heads wait to worship at the famous Sabarimala temple.
The Travancore Devaswom Board had failed to bring to the notice of the government the police intervention to deny the rights of the pilgrims, they said. A scuffle ensued, and the police forced Surendran and the others into a police vehicle and took them to Chittaar police station about 50 kms away from Sabarimala. They also mentioned that the safety of others at the airport also had to be considered. "I was taken into custody for no reason as I came to the temple to offer prayers as any devout pilgrim would do", she said.
The Supreme Court's decision to lift restrictions for women entering Central Kerala's popular Sabarimala temple has caused the state to get divided by supporters on either side.
"We will not return to Maharashtra without darshan at the Sabarimala temple".
Younger women devotees are still awaiting their chance.
Many pilgrims going to Sabarimala have also complained about restrictions on their movement during the new clampdown. She was taken to Pampa and from there, to Ranni.