NASHIK: Swarajya Mahila Sanghatna activists, led by president Vanita Gatte, and some children were beaten by priests, a former municipal president and villagers when they tried to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Trimbakeshwar temple here.
Assistant superintendent of police Dr Pravin Mundhe said cases had been registered under the IPC and the Maharashtra Hindu Places of Public Worship (Entry Authori-sation) Act. Section 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman) has also been applied.
“We are checking the footage and identifying the people in the alleged assault. We have the names of the accused and will soon proceed with arrests,” Dr Mundhe told this newspaper.
Ms Gatte said that they queued up for darshan at the allotted time. “The priest told me that I was wearing a cotton sari and told me to enter with wet clothes, so I went out and did as I was told. By this time, a menacing mob, including a sizeable number of women, barred our way.”
Chemical thrown at us, says Gatte
Narrating the attack on the Swarajya Mahila Sanghatna activists, its president Vanita Gatte said, “We were pushed, punched, thrown on the ground and kicked. My little son was also punched on his face by these inhumans. Those beating us included former president of Trimbak Municipal Council Angha Phadke, priests Dhananjay, Yogesh and Prashant, all Tungars,” she said.
She also alleged that the accused threw some chemical on them and it caused an itch. Cases against these four persons and a hundred unidentified persons have been registered with the Trimbakeshwar police station. Trimbakeshwar trustees and administrators did not pick up calls. One said “wrong number” and later refused to answer the call.
This is the third time that Ms Gatte has been refused entry to the temple. On Tuesday, Ms Gatte and other activists were delayed due to the heavy queue. She claimed that the temple administration was deliberately using tactics to deny them entry, while trustee Shrikant Gaidhani had said that darshan was allowed only for one hour.
Bhumata Brigade president Trupti Desai said, “Women should go with sanman (respect). I am going to Trimbakeshwar on April 22 and will take darshan. Let’s see, who stops me.”...