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Shani Shingnapur temple row: Day after Bombay HC order, women activists ‘beaten’ during bid to storm temple

Despite repeated attempts, Ahmednagar District Collector Anil Kawade was not available for comment.

shani shingnapur, Trupti Desai, Shani Shingnapur temple, Shani shingnapur row, Trupti Desai temple, Trupti Shani shingnapur temple platform, Shani shingnapur women activists, Shani shingnapur High court order Shani Shingnapur row: At exactly 2.55 pm when Trupti Desai and some of the members of Bhumata Brigade landed inside the temple and marched towards the core shrine area, they were prevented by belligerent villagers from climbing the platform where Shani idol has been installed.

A day after the Bombay High Court ruled that men and women had equal rights of entry into places of worship, the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra once again witnessed a tense face-off on Saturday when a group of women activists made an attempt to storm the inner sanctum of the temple but were stopped by villagers and then detained by police.

The women activists, belonging to Bhumata Brigade led by Trupti Desai, alleged they were assaulted by local villagers and then dragged and whisked away by the police, which were deployed there in huge numbers to prevent any escalation in the situation.


In the evening, Desai said they were on their way to Supa police station in Ahmednagar to file an FIR against Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for allegedly failing to comply with the HC order. “The court has clearly said that anyone who stops women from entering a place of worship should be arrested. However, the police and district officials remained mute spectators,” she said.

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Desai said she and other activists would be going back to Shani Shingnapur to offer prayers. “We have handed over a copy of the High Court order to the police. It is now the duty of the police to ensure our entry into the inner sanctum of the temple,” she said.

Activists from the outfit had made a similar failed attempt to storm the temple in January after which they had moved the Bombay HC seeking intervention.

On Saturday, Desai, along with 30-odd Bhumata Brigade members landed at the temple gates and made a dash towards the core shrine area even as angry villagers and temple security personnel rushed to stop them from climbing the sacred platform where a rock idol of Lord Shani is placed. Chaos followed as villagers raised slogans against Desai and Bhumata Brigade and tried to prevent her from marching towards the core shrine area.

Though Desai was seen waving a copy of the High Court ruling, the villagers refused to relent.


Then Desai and others sat on a dharna inside, declaring they won’t move till they were allowed to offer prayers at the inner sanctum of the temple. Minutes later, women police constables virtually dragged them to the police vehicle. While sitting on the dharna, Desai said, “The CM and his government have failed to comply with the Bombay High Court order.”

Police said Desai and 26 others were briefly detained to prevent any clashes with villagers.

Shani Shingnapur village sarpanch Balasaheb Bankar disputed Desai’s version and denied that Desai and her supporters were beaten up.


Despite repeated attempts, Ahmednagar District Collector Anil Kawade was not available for comment.

Resident district collector Rajendra Patil, when asked why the administration and the police had not ensured the entry of women activists into the inner sanctum of the temple, said they had received no instructions from the state government.

Earlier in the day, Praveen Pardeshi, Principal Secretary to the CM, had said the government would ensure equality of men and women at all places of worship. “The HC order is binding on all, including the district collectorate,” he said. However, after the high drama at Shingnapur in the afternoon, Pardeshi remained unavailable for comment despite several attempts.

First published on: 03-04-2016 at 12:32:10 am
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