AHMEDNAGAR: In a bid to end the deadlock over allowing women to enter Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra, the District Administration of Ahmednagar called for a meeting on Saturday between protestors and the temple management.
The Ahmednagar District Collectorate has reportedly written a letter to Bhumata Brigade, inviting them to discuss the centuries-old ban on female devotees entering the sacred platform, with the shrine authorities.
Bhumata Brigade’s Trupti Desai, who is leading the protests, told ANI that temple authorities are dominating in name of old traditions.
“Temple authorities are dominating in name of old traditions but there is no such tradition that keeps women out of the temple...I am sure Maharashtra Chief Minister will allow women to enter temple again,” said Desai.
Women members and supporters of the Bhumata Brigade arrived from Pune on January 29 in six buses with an aim to enter the temple's sanctorum where the idol of Lord Shani is placed on an open-air platform.
However, the group led by Trupti was stopped from marching towards the temple by police near Supa. They were also detained by police for some time, but released later.
After being stopped by the police, Trupti said it was a "black day" for women as they were being stopped from exercising their rights.
The temple drew attention in November 2015 after a woman had offered prayers at the popular shrine in "breach" of age-old practice that prohibits entry of women, after which the temple committee had to suspend seven security men and the villagers to perform purification rituals.
The temple attracts millions of tourists and devotees from across the country and abroad.