Congress slams Maha Govt over mishandling of Shani Shingnapur issue

Mumbai: The Congress Party on Wednesday slammed the BJP-led Government in Maharashtra over the mishandling of Shani Shingnapur temple issue and asked why Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had swung into action now, even as the protests have been going on for days.

“The assurance has come a little too late. The Chief Minister is guilty of silence considering that these protests have been going on for days. It is due to sheer protests by the women activists that the Chief Minister has chosen to react. Why has he been silent for so long,” Congress leader Priyanka Chaturvedi told ANI.

“What happened yesterday was very condemnable. The Chief Minister also handles the Home Ministry profile, and the protests reached a stage where the girls were arrested,” she added.

Fadnavis today met Bhumata Brigade chief Trupti Desai and other women activists, who have launched a movement to secure women’s entry to the Shani Shingnapur temple. Desai said that Fadnavis supported their endeavour and assured to look into the matter.

The Bhumata Brigade chief further said that they have requested the Chief Minister to ensure an arrangement so that both men and women could enter the Shani platform.

Women members and supporters of the Bhumata Brigade arrived from Pune on Tuesday in six buses with an aim to enter the temple’s sanctum where the idol of Lord Shani is placed on an open-air platform.

However, the group led by Desai was stopped from marching towards the temple by police near Supa. They were also detained by police for some time, but released later.

After being stopped by police, Trupti said it was a “black day” for women as they were being stopped from exercising their rights.

The temple drew attention in November 2015 after a woman had offered prayers at the popular shrine in “breach” of age-old practice that prohibits entry of women, after which the temple committee had to suspend seven security men and the villagers to perform purification rituals.

The temple attracts millions of tourists and devotees from across the country and abroad.