Bhumata activists stopped from entering Shani Shinganapur temple

Ahmednagar: Activists of Bhumata Ranragini Brigade led by Trupti Desai on Saturday afternoon stormed the premises of Shani Shinganapur temple in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar District, but were stopped by locals and the temple trust authorities from entering the temple.
Raising slogans against the Maharashtra Government and the police administration, the protesting activists said they would not leave the place until they were allowed to pay their obeisance at the temple.

The Bhumata Ranragini Brigade’s move came days after the Bombay High Court stated that prohibiting women from entering places of worship is against the Fundamental Rights bestowed upon them by the Constitution.

Stating that prohibiting them from entering the sanctum sanctorum was violation of the High Court’s order, Desai said, “We are not going to turn around, and if need be we will file an FIR against the Maharashtra Home Minister and Chief Minister.”

“Police were made available for our protection. They have been directed by the court to provide protection to us. What the police were doing,” asked Desai.

Disposing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Vidya Bal and Nilima Varta, the court said there should be no gender discrimination as far as entering places of worship is concerned.

The PIL challenged the tradition prohibiting the entry of women inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, claiming that barring women is arbitrary, illegal and in violation to the fundamental rights of a citizen that the Constitution bestows.

On January 26, at least 400 women volunteers led by Desai made an unsuccessful attempt to storm the ‘chauthara’ of the temple, but police stopped them at Supa village, 70 kms from the temple.

The temple drew attention in November 2015 after a woman offered prayers in “breach” of the age-old practice of prohibiting entry of women. (ANI)