Bindu Ammini, who visited the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala earlier this year, was attacked with pepper spray in Kochi this morning. According to media reports, she is recovering at a city hospital now.
Bindu was alighting from her car at the Revenue Tower, which houses the Police Commissioner’s office, when she was attacked by a man, who immediately fled. He was later caught by the police, and was identified as a Kannur native named Sreenath Padmanabhan. Former Kerala BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan has told the media that BJP or the Sangh Parivar had no connection to the attack, and that the accused was not a member of either parties.
Kozhikode-based Bindu is in Kochi to visit activist Trupti Desai, who is in Kerala with a small group of women activists to visit the Sabarimala temple. Bindu was supposed to join the group on their hike to Sabarimala, which the police department has discouraged.
In fact, the State government had declared earlier that it will neither provide police protection to the activists nor allow them to visit the temple on their own, due to security issues. Kadakampilly Surendran, the Devaswom Minister, had stated that women who want to visit the temple will need to get a court order in order to get police protection.
This is in contrast to their move last year, when police force at Sabarimala provided security to women visitors from the devotees protesting women’s entry into the temple of the celibate deity, Lord Ayyappa.
Bindu was in news in January this year, when she, along with Malappuram-based Kanaka Durga, entered Sabarimala temple under police protection. They had made headlines across the country, as they were the first women to enter the famed temple for the first time after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of women’s entry at Sabarimala. Women devotees between the age of 12 and 60 had not been allowed inside the centuries-old temple for decades.