In a major move to break the shackles of tradition, hundreds of women have left from Pune to the Shani Shingapur temple that prohibited women from entering the sanctum sanctorum. The temple located in a village which is about 330 km northeast of Mumbai has for the past sixt7y years or so denied entry for women to the main temple compound.
The women are planning to offer prayers to the main Shani deity, by climbing the main platform. This has raised the anxiety of local villagers and various socio-political organizations.
“We are going to Shani Shingnapur to offer prayers to Lord Shani. We want to exercise our right given to us by constitution and we will do it peacefully,” said Truti Desai, who is leading the agitation.
Locals have barred entry for outsiders and plan to form a human chain around the temple. The administration has also deployed additional security personnel through the village to prevent activists of the Bhumata brigade, who are championing the movement, from entering the inner sanctum.
The joint charity commissioner’s office in Pune has served a notice to the women’s group asking them not to create a law and order issue. The Shiv Sena has also joined the current controversy saying it would help villagers to hold back.
Following the controversy, the temple elected a woman as its head, prompting hopes for a progressive decision. Anita Shete however made it clear she would ensure the tradition remained unbroken.