Following the Shani Shingnapur temple’s announcement that both men and women will be allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the temple, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis welcomed the decision and said religion never discriminates on the basis of caste or gender.
“The state government has taken the same stand from the very beginning and we filed an affidavit in the High Court that there should be no discrimination. Today, they have decoded on this issue and we wish that after today, no one needs the police to get ‘darshan’. Religion never discriminates on the basis of caste or gender,” Fadnavis said.
After a long crusade by women activists demanding entry to the inner sanctum of the Shani temple in Shingnapur, the temple trust finally granted women devotees passage into the temple on Friday.
“Anyone can enter the sanctum and the committee can’t stop them from entering. The rule was that men and women both can worship god (darshan) from the lower part of the temple, but when men entered the sanctum then it became our responsibility to also let women enter,” Nana Sahib Bankar, vice-president of the Shani Shingnapur Trust, told the media here.
He said that the temple had been following an ancient custom but added that they had no objection in welcoming the court’s order.
Earlier on Friday, around 100 men were seen storming into the inner sanctum of the holy place, defying the Trust’s orders.
On the festive occasion of Gudi Padwa, with hundreds of devotees in line to worship, a mob of men arrived outside the temple and stripped to their undergarments as they barged aside the security to enter the inner sanctum of the temple and pray at the holy site.
Meanwhile, activist Trupti Desai will also be reaching the site to finally enter the inner sanctum again.