'Black day' for women, says activist after being stopped en route Shani Shingnapur

Submitted by Subeditor on Tue, 2016-01-26 17:36 Pune: Women activist, who were en route Shani Shingnapur Temple to break the centuries-old tradition of not allowing them to enter the sanctum sanctorum, on Tuesday were stopped by the police near Supa in Maharashtra. The activists led by Trupti Desai had left from Pune earlier today for the Shani Shingnapur Temple. They jostled with the police and raised slogans, and finally sat on a Dharna there. Desai said that it was a black day for women as they were being stopped from exercising their rights. "The way police jostled with us is not right. We were marching peacefully. This is a black day for women. They are stopping women from exercising their right. Police is misbehaving with us. We will surely go to temple," she said. "No one can stop us from going to the temple. We will not leave this place." said another activist. To prevent law and order issues, the police and temple authorities have put up three levels of barricades, deployed women constables and village volunteers to guard the temple. Women activist Annie Raja earlier today questioned the ban on women entering the temple and backed those trying to break the gender barrier. "Today it is this temple, yesterday it was Sabarimala. The larger issue is the equality. Men and women are equal before god. If we consider that then why there is ban, or disallowing women to enter into shrine and worship. We are for allowing the women into the sanctum sanctorum," she told ANI. "Time has come for this country to wake up and think about why fifty percent of the population is discriminated, or still treated as second grade citizens of this country. Women are discriminated in all fields, whether social, economic or political," she added. The temple drew attention after a woman defied common practice and performed 'abhishek' to lord Shani on November 27 last year. Outraged villagers and temple trustees later "purified" the idol by performing another 'abhishek' with milk, triggering a major row between women activists who hailed the woman's courage and villagers defending the purification ritual as tradition. The temple platform attracts millions of tourists and devotees from across the country and abroad. (ANI)