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Desai, other activists detained for disrupting public order at Shani Shinganapur


Ahmednagar : After Bhumata Ranragini Brigade activists led by Trupti Desai on Saturday afternoon stormed the premises of Shani Shinganapur temple in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar District, police detained Desai and some of the activists for allegedly disrupting the public order.

Bhumata Ranragini Brigade activists clashed with local villagers, who were staunchly opposing the entry of women inside the sanctum sanctorum.

Nearly 100 volunteers of Bhumata Brigade marched towards Shani Shingnapur temple, a day 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.

After arrested by police, Desai said, “We have a copy of the High Court’s order. We should have been allowed to enter the sanctum. Prohibiting us from entering the sanctum sanctorum was violation of the High Court’s order.”

“Till an FIR is filed against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, we won’t get down of this vehicle (ambulance). We’ve been kidnapped,” she alleged.

“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.

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. (ANI)

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