Nashik locals stopped Bhumata Brigade supporters from entering the Trimbakeshwar temple on Monday during the eve of Mahashivratri.
The supporters of Pune-based Bhumata Brigade, who tried to storm the sanctum sanctorum of Maharashtra's Shani Shingnapur temple in January, had left Pune on Monday morning and reached Nashik via Narayangaon in Maharashtra. But they met with opposition from the locals as they tried to enter the Trimbakeshwar temple.
According to a news report, over 300 women under the banner of Bhumata Brigade had announced that they would barge into the Trimbakeshwar temple with the prime objective of entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Shiva temple where women are prohibited traditionally.
The announcement had made the temple management jittery as they were expecting around 2 lakh devotees of Lord Shiva at the Trimbakeshwar temple on the occasion of Shivratri on Monday.
"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," Trupti Desai, who heads the Bhumata Brigade and leads its agitations told DNA.
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.
Earlier in the year, the police and women from the village, allegedly led by the VHP, stopped the organisation's attempt to storm the Shani Shingnapur temple. The clash at the Shani Shingnapur temple had built up over months, in tandem with the demand to let women enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. In January, the Supreme Court questioned the age-old tradition of banning entry of women of menstrual age group in historic Sabarimala temple in Kerala, saying it cannot be done under the Constitution.
"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 had said.
Also See On HuffPost: