Over 1500 women plan to storm Shani Shingnapur temple today

The protesters want to end the age-old "humiliating" practice of not allowing women to enter the core shrine area.

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune | Updated: January 26, 2016 1:36 am
Shani Shingnapur, shani temple, shani mandir, shanir shingnapur protest Devotees, including women, pray at the shrine of Shani Shingnapur. (Source: Express photo by Sandeep Daundkar)

As many as 1,500 women — mostly housewives and college students — plan to storm the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district on Republic Day and end the age-old “humiliating” practice of not allowing women to enter the core shrine area. The police, however, have geared up to thwart the attempt by imposing prohibitory orders in the temple area and also plan to carry out preventive arrests.

The Bhumata Ranragini Brigade, which is spearheading the agitation, said Monday women from across Maharashtra would gather at Shani Shingnapur by 1 pm. “Soon after we will enter the temple area and then climb the platform where the Shani idol has been installed,” said Trupti Desai, the Bhumata Brigade president. The women activists said they know that the police would be using all their force and might to stop them, but they are confident of offering prayers in the core shrine area to restore the dignity of the women not only from Maharashtra but across India who visit the place.

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“We know the police will not allow us in the vicinity of the temple as they have imposed prohibitory orders. We are not planning to create any ugly scene or indulge in any form of violence. We will adopt the Gandhian way for handing over rose to the police personnel to allow our entry inside the temple,” she said.

Since the police seem to be leaving no stone unturned to stop the women activists from marching to the temple, Desai said they have a ‘secret plan’ up their sleeves. “Since it is a secret plan, we will obviously not reveal anything as of now. We will spring a surprise tomorrow…wait and watch,” she said.

The women activists had also tried to rope in a helicopter, but the district collector denied them the permission. “Let them do what they want to, it will not deter us. We are determined to end the distasteful practice on Republic Day,” said Desai, adding that women have already started proceeding towards Shani Shingnapur by buses and private vehicles from far off places like Latur, Nashik, Nagpur and Konkan.

Priyanka Jagtap, another member of the brigade said,”It is really painful to find the kind of effort underway to stop us from ending their wrong practice. First, they are outrightly humiliating women by not allowing them to climb the platform of the core shrine area. They make all kinds of claims like women are impure and what not…And then they want us to remain mere spectators and allow the humiliation to continue for ages. It is because of such mindset that women continue to be insulted, discriminated and subjected for years,” she said.

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  1. L
    Logical Indian
    Jan 25, 2016 at 3:12 pm
    This is a positive movement ...means people are indeed questioning age old traditions.This is the best thing about Hinduism ..that it's followers are liberal and are not afraid to make amends when required.The temple authorities should have rather opened the doors for women instead of following age old rituals blindly.Hinduism as per core beliefs places a great importance to women in various forms of Shakti.The temple authorities are going a great disservice to Hinduism itself by barring women.
    1. U
      US NRI
      Jan 25, 2016 at 10:36 pm
      Good to see that thousands of years of traditions and beliefs are being challenged and supported by new modi govt. My only argument goes in favor of the resident of this and nearby towns who have been talking of this temple for centuries. These women rather then doing it themselves should encourage women from this area...to stop this tradition and credit should go to people in this area and not some outsiders seeking publicity. This would ensure support of the village, people from
      1. I
        Jan 25, 2016 at 4:58 pm
        why are separate toilet for M/F ?
        1. A
          Jan 25, 2016 at 4:08 pm
          Hahahahahaaha..something interesting
          1. N
            Jan 26, 2016 at 4:27 pm
            I love to R@@pe why not allowed , it is shame my rights are not allowed by Goverment.
            1. A
              Jan 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm
              RSS, fadnavis govt, the sanghis in general back the temple authorities. What can you expect of misogynists? But nice fun. The world is watching.
              1. c
                Jan 25, 2016 at 3:24 pm
                Every temple place will have some signification and one should not disturb that especially out siders. Its local people practice and traditions, who are these women to question. No one is asking or forcing them to go that temple. If one doesn't like then don't go. Is it that important issue for this stupid and sick minded women. No other religion gives importance when it comes women goddess compared to Hinduism.
                1. I
                  Jan 25, 2016 at 6:07 pm
                  Hinduism allows women to go to temples and worship side by side with male, just one temple has specific rule and Media is making big fuss out of it. MOSQUES do not allow muslim women to enter , but no cry from media against islam, smallest thing in hinduism will be made out fo proportion. I say kill those who do this, kil those media personnels for doing injustice to Hindus and making everyone hate hinduism, when in reality Islam is ruining world everywhere.
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