Women activists now target Shiva temple in Maharashtra

Pune, March 7 (IANS) About 200 members of women’s organisation Bhumata Ranragini Brigade (BRB) here on Monday left for Nashik city and resolved to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Trimbakeshwar Shiva temple, officials said.

The activists would be making the attempt reportedly against an “age-old tradition” at the temple, spelt out by the management, that allows only men to enter the Garbh Gruha or the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

Devotees across the country are celebrating Mahashivratri on Monday, a special day of reverence for Lord Shiva. Trimbakeshwar, about 160 km from here, is one of the 12 Jyotirlings – the most important Shiva shrines – in India.

“Why should women be debarred from entering the temple’s sanctum sanctorum? It is our constitutional right to enter any place of worship… It is the auspicious Mahashivratri when we are taking this initiative,” BRB president Trupti Desai told reporters en route to Nashik city.

“If they attempt to stop us, it will be an insult to all women on the eve of International Women’s Day,” she said.

Nashik police and district administration have reportedly made special security arrangements to prevent any conflict at the temple.

Some women’s groups in Nashik have been opposing BRB’s style of ‘activism’ and have reportedly petitioned the temple management to prevent any violation of ‘tradition’ by the activists.

There is heavy police presence around the temple complex. Trimbakeshwar Municipal Council chief officer N.M. Nagre, who is also statutory deputy chairperson of Trimbakeshwar Temple Trust, has initiated a resolution against the BRB’ activism.

Nashik (Rural) Superintendent of Police Sanjay Mohite said the police were on high alert.

On January 26, Trupti Desai had led about 500 BRB activists to the renowned Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra for a similar kind of action.

At Shani Shingnapur, women are not allowed to set foot on the open platform where the idol of the deity is installed.

The women activists were then stopped around 100 km from the temple and sent back.

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