Sabarimala | Bindu Ammini attacked

High drama unfolded in the city when six women activists led by Pune-based Bhumata Brigade leader Trupti Desai descended here early on Tuesday with the objective of offering ‘darshan’ at the hilltop Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala. Bindu Ammini, who had managed to offer prayers at Sabarimala Temple under police security last year, was sprayed with a liquid, seemingly pepper spray, on her face at the Kochi Commissionerate office. Earlier, the team arrived at the Cochin International Airport Limited at Nedumbassery by the Indigo Airline flight from Pune at 4.17 a.m. Their arrival went completely under the radar as the visit was kept under the wraps unlike more than a year back when Ms. Desai and her entourage were restricted to the airport by protesters of the Sangh Parivar outfits. They had to make a retreat after a more than 13 hours standoff. The team comprising six from Maharashtra and one from Delhi was joined outside the airport by Ms. Ammini. The team reportedly arrived at the Nedumbassery police station demanding protection for their pilgrimage around 4.40 a.m. However, they were turned away following which they left claiming to be on their way to Pampa before springing a surprise by turning up at Kochi Commissionerate office near Ernakulam boat jetty around 6.30 a.m. They made it to the eighth floor office of the Inspector General of Police and District Police Chief (Kochi City) Vijay Sakhare who, incidentally, is away in Thiruvananthapuram attending a meeting. Things, which were very peaceful till then turned nasty when Ms. Ammini emerged out of the office around 7.15 a.m. reportedly to fetch some documents from the car by which they had come. A bearded man clad in whites followed Ms. Ammini and sprayed the liquid on her face.