Published On : Sat, Apr 2nd, 2016

Faceoff at Shani Shingnapur as Bhumata Brigade activists try to enter temple

Representational Pic

Representational Pic

Nashik/Nagpur: A day after the Bombay High Court ruled that it is the fundamental right of women to go into places of worship, around 25 women activists led by Trupti Desai today entered the premises of Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra, but were stopped by locals from offering prayer in the inner sanctum.

Activist Desai, who had pledged to pray at the famous temple in the state’s Ahmednagar district, said: “We are not going to turn around and if need be we will file an FIR (first information report) against the home minister and chief minister.”

The court on Friday ruled that offering prayers at a temple “is the fundamental right of a woman and the government’s fundamental duty to protect their (women) right.”

Activist Desai, who had pledged to pray at the famous temple of Lord Shani or Saturn, said, “I dont think anyone will stop us today, court has already given its order. This is a victory for us.”

“If anyone stops us today we will file an FIR (first information report) against them,” she added.

The Maharashtra government has said it will take all steps to comply with the order by enforcing a law that provides six months in prison for preventing anyone from entering a temple.

Ms Desai has been stopped in the past by the police and hundreds of locals, including women, from forcing her way into the Shani Shingnapur temple, where women are not allowed into the inner sanctum.

“The court has given a landmark judgment. Men and women have to be treated equally in 21st century,” said Shaina NC, a spokesperson for his party.

Last year, after a woman worshipper managed to offer her prayers to the idol at the Shani Shingnapur temple, an elaborate cleansing ritual was immediately carried out by a priest.

Meanwhile, member of an action committee formed to maintain the 400-year-old tradition, Sambhaji Dahatonde said: “We will soon approach the Supreme Court against the High Court ruling as it is a matter of protecting the faith of devotees,”