Bindu Ammini, one of the two women who first entered the Sabarimala temple in January this year, was pepper-sprayed outside the police commissioner's office in the southern state of Kerala.
Activist Bindu had returned to the southern state for another shot at making it to the hilltop shrine of Lord Ayyappa in the Western Ghats. Five more women, including activist Trupti Desai, plan to trek to the shrine on Tuesday.
Bindu was seeking protection to gain entry into the shrine again after the gateways of the Lord Ayyappa temple were opened for the two-month long pilgrim season on 16 November.
In the video, Bindu can be seen shielding her face and running away from a man who sprayed pepper into her eyes. The man is then seen fleeing from the compound.
Shocking visuals of pepper/ chilli spray being sprayed at Bindu Ammini outisde the commissioner office by one of the protesters . She has been moved to the hospital. Six other women including Trupti Desai inside the police commissioner's office. #Sabarimala #Kerala @ndtv pic.twitter.com/d24chgs8b3— Sneha Koshy (@SnehaMKoshy) November 26, 2019
Desai, who the Kerala government said will not get any security cover, landed at Kochi airport on Tuesday morning.
"We'll visit Sabarimala temple today on Constitution Day. Neither the state government nor the police can stop us from visiting the temple. Whether we get security or not we will visit the temple today," Desai said as India commemorated Constitution Day on 26 November.
The Supreme Court, in 2018, in a historic judgment, allowed women of all ages to enter the temple, which angered some devotees of the celibate God.
The Kerala government had then promised it would provide security to women who want to walk to the temple from the nearest base camp.
Earlier this month, the top court, while deciding on a petition to review its 2018 order, referred the matter to a larger seven-judge Bench, though it did not stay the 2018 verdict that had allowed entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala temple.
The Kerala government now maintains it will not provide security to activists who try to enter Sabarimala.
The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) had even lodged a complaint against Desai and others for hurting religious sentiments. In the complaint, it was alleged that Desai is attempting to incite communal violence by challenging the belief and traditions of the devotees.