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Shingnapur Gram Sabha passes resolution condemning Brigade

Shani Shingnapur

Ahmednagar : A day after police foiled the plan of 400 women activists to defy a centuries-old ban on females entering sacred sanctum at Shani Shingnapur temple here, Gram Sabha at the village where the shrine is located today passed a resolution condemning Bhumata Brigade and its volunteers for tyring to perform puja at the ‘Chauthara’.

At a meeting of the Gram Sabha of Shingnapur village, a resolution condemning the brigade and its chief Trupti Desai was passed.

Yesterday, the women activists, who tried to head to the popular temple defying prohibitory orders to worship the deity, were detained by police at Supa village, 70 kms from the shrine, for a few hours and released later and sent back to Pune in buses.

The detained women were lodged in a marriage hall at Supa, where they vehemently protested against the police action and raised slogans and lay down on the road, screaming, “It is a black day for women on the Republic Day.”

An angry Desai also demanded to know why women were being discriminated against and asserted that the activists will go ahead with their plan.

As a showdown erupted, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis favoured a dialogue between temple authorities and activists to find a way out over the ban on entry of women into the inner sanctum of the shrine, maintaining that women have a right to pray.

The shrine is dedicated to Lord Shani, who personifies the planet Saturn in Hindu belief. Women devotees are not permitted on the ‘chauthara’ (sacred platform) as per the tradition followed at the shrine.

The shrine has no walls or a roof. A five-foot-high black stone stands on a platform and is worshipped as Lord Shani.

Last year, a bid by the women’s organisation to break the security cordon and enter the prohibited area of the temple was foiled on December 20 by security guards of the Shani Shingnapur Trust.

The Charity Commissioner’s office had imposed restrictions on the proposed programme fearing damage to property.

Meanwhile, Brigade leader Desai said that she will meet the Maharashtra Chief Minister in Pune today to demand that women be allowed to offer puja from the ‘chauthara’ (platform) at the Shani temple.

“We had sought time to meet the CM. We have been called to meet Fadnavis during his scheduled event in Pune today,” she said.

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