New Delhi : As activists of the Bhumata Ranragini Brigade led by Trupti Desai were on Saturday afternoon stopped by locals and the temple trust authorities from entering Shani Shinganapur temple in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar District, All India Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza and Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal said the Maharashtra Government should ensure that women get their right of worship.
Terming the incident “unfortunate”, Oza told ANI: “Even as the Bombay High Court has given a very clear-cut verdict that the government and administration should ensure that women get their right of worship and there cannot be a gender bias in that, the government and the administration are not ensuring this right to women.”
“In fact, the Maharashtra Government and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should ensure the responsibility laid on him by the high court that the right of women to pray should be given to them,” Oza added.
Dubbing the temple trust authorities and locals’ prohibiting women activists from entering the temple as “completely shameful”, Maliwal told ANI: “It is the wish of all women in the country to actually entre temples, and it was also the order of the Bombay High Court.”
“What is happening right now in Maharashtra is a contempt of court, which needs to be completely stopped,” she said.
“It is responsibility of the government to actually intervene and ensure that these women get access to the temple, which is their right and had been denied to them for so many years. And now, through the Bombay HC order it is being given. This must be immediately done and women must have access to places of worship,” Maliwal added.
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)