Pune-based Bhumata Brigade--who had tried to storm the sanctum sanctorum of Maharashtra's Shani Shingnapur temple in January--will try to enter the innermost chamber of the Trimbakeshwar temple in Nashik today.
According to a report on DNA, "Over 300 women under the banner of Bhumata Brigade of Pune have announced that they would barge in the temple with the prime objective of entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Shiva temple where women are prohibited traditionally. They would set off from Pune at 8:30am."
Trupti Desai, who heads the Bhumata Brigade and leads its agitations told DNA, "We are seeking our “equal rights to pray” at this temple which is among 12 Jyotirlingas. Shockingly, this is the only Jyotirlinga which disallows women into sanctum sanctorum while others like Kashi Vishawanth and Ujjain temples haven’t put such restrictions. This is gross injustice to women."
This has gotten the temple management worried. The Trimbakeshwar temple, popular with worshippers of Lord Shiva, is expecting nearly 2lakh worshippers on the occasion of Shivratri.
On the other hand, the DM of Nashik said that he has no constitutional right to either stop the Bhumata Brigade from entering the temple or allow them to storm the inner sanctum.
In January this year, the police and women from the village, allegedly led by the VHP, stopped the organisation's attempt to storm the Shani Shingnapur temple. "Villagers of Shani Shingnapur, who had prepared themselves for a confrontation with the activists, celebrated the detention of the organisation’s leader, Trupti Desai, and other activists by bursting firecrackers," Indian Express had reported at that time.
In an interview to Scroll, Desai had said that their intention was not to hurt religious sentiments but achieve gender equality in religious discourses. “They are saying that their religious sentiments are hurt. How have they been hurt? Have we ever said that there is no god? We are also devotees of Shani [the deity embodied in the planet Saturn] and we just want the same rights as men for women of all castes," she said.
Also see on HuffPost: