sabarimala women
Journalist Kavitha Jakkal of Hyderabad based Mojo TV and woman activist Rehana Fatima move to the office where the two have been called by Inspector General S Sreejith.ANI

A group of women activists led by Tripti Desai are stuck at Kochi Airport in Kerala as protesters continue to squat outside the airport to prevent them from reaching the Sabarimala temple.

The group is armed with the September 28 Supreme Court order allowing the entry of women of all ages to the hill shrine in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district and has requested the state government for police protection.

Television footage shows the protesters drawn from various Hindu nationalist organisations squatting outside the airport blocking the exit and chanting prayers.

The group of five activists from New Delhi, who had announced their intention of visiting the temple beforehand, have affirmed their intention to complete the pilgrimage.

Protesters led by the Bharatiya Janata Party had begun gathering in the area from last night to await the private flight of the activists that landed before 5 am.

Reports say the taxi drivers of the airport have also refused to take her to Sabarimala as the protesters backed by Hindu nationalist organisations have said there would be protests all along the route to Sabarimala.

Kerala's police chief Loknath Behra said the police were closely monitoring the situation and would take a decision after consulting with the top officials in charge of security in and around the Sabarimala shrine.

Unconfirmed reports say the police did ask the activists if they were keen on continuing with the trip given the tense situation. However, the activists have stood their ground, making clear their intention of visiting the temple and completing the pilgrimage. The police authorities are also considering the option of bringing the activists out of the airport in a police vehicle.

Reports say that the state government, which is in a bind after Thursday's all-party meeting on the situation arising out of the Supreme Court order, is exploring the possibility of approaching the court with a petition seeking more time to implement the court order.

The Sabarimala season begins today on the first day of the Malayalam month of Vrischikam. The government has increased security around the temple and roads leading there because of the protests and violence that the state witnessed during the days when the temple briefly opened twice.