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Cong backs women’s agitation for lifing temple entry ban

Shani Shinganpur

New Delhi : Congress today backed the agitation by a woman’s organisation in Maharashtra for lifting of the centuries-old ban on female devotees entering the sacred platform at Shani Shinganpur temple in Ahmednagar district.

“I commend the move of one of the women’s organisations of Maharashtra asserting their right of worship at Shani Shingnapur. “Women have got equal rights in the field of religion and philosophy in our country for centuries. Doors of knowledge and religion should be open to everyone without any discrimination”, party General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said. He said that it is the “pious duty” of whole society to support such a move.

“This is also the responsibility of the government so that reason prevails over those people who are creating hurdles and problems in this direction.”

His statement came a day after around 400 women activists made an attempt to defy the ban on female devotees entering the sacred platform at Shani Shingnapur which was foiled by police as they were stopped at a village, 70 km from the shrine.

The activists, who tried to head to the popular temple defying prohibitory orders to worship the deity, were detained by police at Supa village for a few hours and released in the evening and sent back to Pune in buses.

MRCC president Sanjay Nirupam said he supports the agitation by the women for equal access at the Shani temple.

“I am of the belief that women should be allowed equal rights at all temples,” he said.

“Respecting women is our core value. They must be allowed at the Shani Shingnapur temple,” added Nirupam.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had yesterday urged temple authorities to hold a dialogue with the group that is leading the campaign for equal rights for women devotees at the shrine in Ahmadnagar district.

“Indian culture and Hindu religion gives women the right to pray. A change in yesterday’s traditions is our culture. Discrimination in praying is not in our culture. The temple authorities should resolve the issue through dialogue,” Fadnavis, who also holds the home portfolio, had tweeted.

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