Honour HC order or face FIR, women evicted from Shani temple warn CM

Women activists stopped by locals from entering temple; cops detain Bhumata Brigade leader Trupti Desai.

Ahmednagar: Women activists of Bhumata Ranragini Brigade led by Trupti Desai on Saturday afternoon stormed into 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. However, police soon evicted the activists from the temple's complex and detained Trupti Desai.

Police detained activist Trupti Desai after she tried entering the temple. (Photo: ANI/Twitter)Police detained activist Trupti Desai after she tried entering the temple. (Photo: ANI/Twitter)

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.

Upset at her attempt being foiled, Desai said she would 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.

Lashing out at Fadnavis, Desai said the Chief Minister holds the Home portfolio as well and has jurisdiction over the state police.

"If he cannot order the police to honour the High Court's order, he should give up the Home portfolio," Desai said, adding she would try to contact Prime Minister Narendra Modi also to seek his intervention.

Vowing to intensify the campaign for gender justice after the tense face-off, Desai said a police complaint would be also filed against those who prevented the activists from entering the core area of the shrine in Ahmednagar district.

Read: Woman can enter any place of worship: Bombay High Court

"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.

Read: Shani temple row: Bhoomata Brigade leader detained

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.

( Source : PTI/ANI )
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