HIGH DRAMA was witnessed at the Shani Shingnapur temple on Sunday when four women from Pune made an attempt to climb on to the platform where the Shani shrine has been installed. The women, who managed to climb a few stairs, were prevented by the security guards from landing on to the platform. The temple is located in Ahmednagar district.
Assistant police inspector Prashant Mandale said the incident occurred around 2.30 pm on Sunday. “The four women tried to climb onto the platform to offer puja but were prevented from doing so by the security guards. The women have lodged a complaint against the security guards for pushing them away,” he said, adding,”But I will use my discretionary powers to determine what action needs to be taken in the matter,” he said. As to whether the police would arrest them, Mandale said, nothing has been decided yet.
He,however, denied the speculations that villagers had filed a complaint against the four women. “Neither the villagers nor the women have filed any complaint against each other. The television channels are reporting wrong news,” he said.
Trupati Desai, one of the women, who tried to climb on to the platform from the Shani shrine, said, “Around 2.30 pm, we entered the temple and wanted to offer puja at the shrine. However, the security guards did not allow us to go near the shrine. They pushed us away, therefore, we lodged a complaint against them,” she said. Priyanka Jagtap, another woman from Pune, said they came all the way to offer worship to Shani, but were not allowed to do so by the security guards. “Nobody threatened us, but we were pushed back,” she said. The women are apparently associated with the Bhumata Trust and residents of Katraj area.
The temple trustees said that nobody is allowed to climb the platform. “Neither men nor women are allowed to offer worship by directly landing on to the platform where garlands and oil are offered,” said Swapanrao Bankar, a trustee.
A few days ago when an unidentified woman tried to climb the platform, it triggered a controversy. The villagers had apparently performed doodh abhishek that they later denied after drawing flak from activists in Maharashtra. The trustees of the temple and the temple priest had clarified that there is no discrimination between men and women. The village and temple administration had attacked TV channels “for presenting a distorted image” of the village and had denied that women are barred from the shrine.