Despite court ruling, women stopped from entering Shani Shingnapur temple

The Maharashtra police and private security guards of Shani Shingnapur temple stopped Bhumata Ranragini Brigade leader Trupti Desai and hundreds of her supporters as they tried to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple on Saturday.

The temple premises witnessed unprecedented stand-off as hundreds of villagers, mostly women, formed human chains and raised slogans against the activists. Police have detained Desai and a number of other women activists.

Terming the entire episode as a murder of democracy, Desai said police should have allowed them to enter sanctum with protection. "This is a contempt of the Bombay High Court... the court had ordered that if women are stopped, the police must intervene and allow them to go to the sanctum sanctorum," she told media.

"Why is the police remaining silent? Was Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis lying when the assurance was made before the court? He should have issued the necessary orders as submitted to the court, why was it not done? Should we lodge a police complaint even against Fadnavis?" Desai further asked.

The activists took out a march to the temple after Bombay High Court on Friday ruled that entering temple is the fundamental right of women and that the government is duty-bound to protect their right.

The court had directed the Home department to issue directions to all superintendents of police and collectors in each district of Maharashtra in this regard.

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