Female Activists Stopped From Entering Temple in W India

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 4:13 PM

The activists entered the Shani Shingnapur temple compound, but were stopped from offering prayers in the temple'south inner sanctum. Police moved the women to a secure space after mad villagers barricaded the temple and said they'd attack anyone who tried to forcibly enter the main shrine.

Around twenty-five female activists were prevented Saturday from entering a temple in western India traditionally open only to men, a day after a Mumbai Ct ruled that women have a fundamental right to enter and pray inside temples.

The activists entered the Shani Shingnapur temple compound, but were stopped from offering prayers in the temple'south inner sanctum. Police moved the women to a secure space after mad villagers barricaded the temple and said they'd attack anyone who tried to forcibly enter the main shrine.

The temple, located in Maharashtra state, has become the focus of a protest by female activists who declare they're fighting a centuries-old tradition of barring women from worshipping at some Hindu temples.

The women had made a similar attempt to enter the Shani Shingnapur temple in January, but were stopped by police some distance far after protests were staged by temple priests and local villagers, mostly men.

Trupti Desai, president of the Bhumata Ranragini Brigade, or Women Warriors of Mother Earth, then filed a petition in the Bombay High Ct in Mumbai. On Friday, the Ct ruled that women could enter any temple in Maharashtra state.

The state government said that any person who tried to prevent women from entering a temple could be sentenced to six months in jail for flouting the court ruling.

The Ct said that while offering prayers at a temple is "the fundamental right of a woman," it's the government'south "fundamental duty" to protect women.

Desai said the women were pushed around by the villagers on Saturday when they tried to enter the inner sanctum of the temple.

"What're the police doing? They were directed to allow protection to us by the court," Desai told reporters.

The Shani Shingnapur temple is committed to the Hindu god Shani, believed to be a personification of the planet Saturn. The temple is located in Ahmadnagar town, one hundred eighty-five kilometers (one hundred fifteen miles) E of Mumbai, India'south financial hub.

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