Rangaragini Bhumata Brigade (RBB) leader Trupti Desai, who was leading a march towards the Shani Shinganapur temple in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, was on Saturday stopped by private security guards from entering the core area of the temple.
Buoyed by the Bombay High Court ruling that it is the fundamental right of women to go into places of worship, over two dozen activists left for the temple where tradition bans women from entering the shrine’s sacred platform.
5:15 pm: Ms. Desai says she will file an FIR against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis if he fails to honour the Bombay High Court order facilitating entry of females to places of worship.
4:55 pm: Trupti Desai and 26 supporters detained by police to avoid any clash with villagers: Additional SP Pankaj Deshmukh.
4:35 pm: Ms. Desai had urged Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis to issue directives to the local administration and police to cooperate with them to go inside the temple peacefully and allow them to worship Lord Shani, whose idol is placed at the ‘chauthara’.
3:50 pm: Local people gherao the temple’s core area, vow not to allow women at shrine’s sacred platform; a defiant Desai sits on dharna.
3:20 pm: Women volunteers, led by Desai, stopped by private security guards from entering the core area of temple.
“After the High Court itself ruled in women’s favour, we are determined to reach the sacred chauthara of the temple and we are sure that police will not restrict us en route,” she said before leaving Pune.
Women devotees are not permitted on the platform as per tradition followed at the shrine, which has no walls or a roof. A five-foot-high black stone stands on a sacred platform (prohibited area) and is worshipped as Lord Shani.
The High Court on Wednesday came out in favour of women’s right to worship, saying there is no law that prevents women from entering a place of worship, and if men are allowed entry, women should be allowed too.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice M.S. Sonak said: “There is no law that prevents entry of women in any place. If you allow men, then you should allow women also. If a male can go and pray before the deity, why not women? It is the State government’s duty to protect the rights of women.”
The Bench said if temple authorities imposed restrictions on someone’s entry in a religious place, they could face six months’ imprisonment as per the Maharashtra law.
[Source:- The Hindu]