Mumbai: The women activists on Friday welcomed the decision of the Shani Shingnapur temple to allow females to enter the inner sanctum of the temple and offer their prayers, saying it was a historic day and would create an atmosphere of gender equality in the society.
Women activist Kavita Shrivastava thanked Trupti desai and Bhumata Brigade who fought for the same.
“What else could be better than hearing that women and men both are going in the temple and worship together? This will create an atmosphere of gender equality in the society,” Shrivastava told reporters.
Nisha Sidhu, another women activist, said that this was a welcome step as gender equality is mentioned in the Indian Constitution.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shaina NC also welcomed the decision of the temple authorities, saying it is a historic day for all women.
“This was never a fight of political ideology. This was for women at par,” she said.
Bowing to the Bombay High Court order and breaking 400 years of tradition, the temple trust today announced that both men and women will henceforth be allowed to enter the inner sanctum and offer their prayers.
“Anyone can enter the sanctum and the committee can’t stop them from entering. The rule was that men and women both can worship god (darshan) from the lower part of the temple, but when men entered the sanctum then it became our responsibility to also let women enter,” Nana Sahib Bankar, vice-president of the Shani Shingnapur Trust, told the media here.
He said that the temple had been following an ancient custom but added that they had no objection in welcoming the court’s order.
Earlier today, around 100 men were seen storming into the inner sanctum of the holy place, defying the Trust’s orders.
On the festive occasion of Gudi Padwa, with hundreds of devotees in line to worship, a mob of men arrived outside the temple and stripped to their undergarments as they barged aside the security to enter the inner sanctum of the temple and pray at the holy site.
The temple had reversed an ancient rule and declared that neither men nor women would be allowed into the area that has an idol placed on a platform.
Meanwhile, activist Trupti Desai will also be reaching at the site to enter the inner sanctum again.
She had been detained earlier on her way to the temple despite the court’s orders that women have the right to worship anywhere they want.