Activists of the Pune-based women’s group Bhumata Brigade, which planned to storm the Tryambakeshwar Temple in Nashik on Monday on the occasion of Mahashivratri festival, was detained by the police about 60 kilometres away at Nandur Shingote village on the Pune – Ahmednagar highway at around 5 pm.
Speaking to The Indian Express late night, Trupti Desai, who is heading the Bhumata brigade said, “Police have detained about 150 women who wanted to enter the Tryambakeshwar temple. We condemn the police action. When our Constitution gives equal rights to men and women, why is the police stopping us from entering a temple. We are sitting in police vehicles. We have told the police that we would not get down till they take us to the temple.”
“We want Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to look into this issue. Also, we want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider our demands. We have been listening to his Mann Ki Baat. Now, we want Modiji to listen to our Mann Ki Baat,” said Desai, who was still in police vehicle till reports last came in.
Sadhvi Harsiddhigiri, who supported the stand taken by Bhumata Brigade, also faced opposition from the Hindutva organisations. Sadhvi was forced to move out of the temple premises.
Sudhir Manguntiwar, finance minister of state, who visited the Tryambakeshwar temple on Monday, told media persons that the issue will be resolved after a meeting with members from both sides.
After the Bhumata Brigade wanted to enter the sanctum santorum of the Tryambakeshwar Temple on Mahashivratri, various Hindutva organisations and the trustees of the temple opposed them.
A press release issued by Hindu Janjagruti Samiti stated that all devout Hindu groups will prevent the Bhumata Brigade from entering the Tryambakeshwar temple. “Every temple has its own tradition. Similarly, at the Shri Tryambakeshwar Temple, which is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga of Bharat, only half-naked men wearing solave (a clean, washed, silk or cotton dhoti to be worn during worship) are allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. This tradition is hundreds of years old. This tradition was respectfully followed by many female VIPs including ex-President Pratibha Patil, ex-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, chief minister of Rajasthan Vasundhararaje Sindhia etc,” it was stated. Hindutva activists and Temple trustees called Bhumata Brigade’s action a publicity stunt. They decided to prevent the Bhumata Brigade from entering temple premises to protect the ancient “tradition”. Accordingly, local women from Tryambak and activists of Hindutva organisations were “guarding” the temple since early morning.
A huge police force was deployed in and around the temple to maintain law and order in the view of terror alert. Besides, a force of 200 cops, including policewomen, were deployed at Nandur Shingote village on the Pune – Ahmednagar road since morning.