Pune activist Trupti Desai, who was detained by police at Supa on Thursday afternoon while on her way to the Shirdi Saibaba temple, was released after four hours.
Desai and 25 of her supporters were heading to the Shirdi temple — to remove the “dress code” board put up by the Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan outside the temple premises — when they were intercepted by the police and taken into preventive custody. Police escorted Desai to her residence in Pune on Thursday evening.
The board, put up last week, urges devotees to enter the temple premises wearing “civilised” outfits that adhere to India’s culture
“Though the police stopped us from heading to Shirdi temple, I am asking the Shirdi temple trustees to remove the board imposing a dress code on devotees by December 31. If by they fail to do so, I and my supporters will do the needful…,” said Desai.
“The police told us that there was a threat to my life and therefore we should not proceed further,” she said.
On the board put up outside the temple, Desai said,”This kind of act of the temple trustees is unconstitutional and against the democratic spirit of the country. They cannot issue such fatwas in a democratic country like India.”
Meanwhile, the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi, reiterated that there was no “ban” on devotees wearing shorts or mini skirts from entering the temple premises. “We don’t know what this protest is all about. We have not imposed any ban. We have simply put up a board which makes a humble request to devotees to wear civilised outfits as per the Indian culture. What is wrong in this? It is just a request, it is not a diktat. Can’t we make a request to the devotees,” Kanhuraj Bagate, CEO of the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, told The Indian Express in the evening.
Bagate said the board was put up after some activists complained to the Sansthan about the “objectionable outfit” of devotees visiting the temple for darshan. “Taking note of the complaints, we put up the board. We will not remove the board as we don’t think there is anything objectionable in it or it is a bid to impose a ban….” he said.
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