Drama un­folds as women kept out of Shani tem­ple

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Satya­jit Joshi vi­jay.swaroop@hin­dus­tan­times.com

PUNE: A day af­ter the state gov­ern­ment as­sured the Bom­bay high court that it would en­sure im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Ma­ha­rash­tra Hindu Places of Pub­lic Wor­ship Act, 1956, which pre­vents dis­crim­i­na­tion be­tween men and women, a group of women ac­tivists were pre­vented by hos­tile vil­lagers and police from en­ter­ing the in­ner sanc­to­rum of the fa­mous Shani tem­ple at Shing­na­pur in Ahmed­na­gar dis­trict of Ma­ha­rash­tra.

The g roup l ed by ac­tivist Trupti De­sai of Bhu­mata Ran­ragini Brigade en­tered the Shani Shing­na­pur tem­ple com­pound but hun­dreds of vil­lagers – both men and women – who be­lieve in the cen­turies-old tra­di­tion of bar­ring women from en­ter­ing the in­ner sanc­to­rum formed a hu­man wall, forc­ing the ac­tivists to re­treat.

The tem­ple in Ma­ha­rash­tra has be­come the fo­cus of a protest by women ac­tivists who say they’re fight­ing a cen­turies-old tra­di­tion of bar­ring women from wor­ship­ping at some Hindu tem­ples. The women had made a sim­i­lar at­tempt in Jan­uary, but were stopped by police some dis­tance away af­ter protests were staged by tem­ple priests and lo­cal vil­lagers, mostly men.

CON­TIN­UED ON P9

PTI PHOTO

Bhu­mata Ran­ragini Brigade leader Trupti De­sai (cen­tre) out­side the Shani Shing­na­pur tem­ple on Satur­day.

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