400 women to defy ban on entry at Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra on Republic Day

Pune: To protest gender discrimination, about 400 women would be entering the inner sanctum of the popular Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra on Republic Day.

The management of the Shani temple adheres to an age-old tradition of not allowing women in the inner precincts, which has drawn flak from the rationalists and women's organisations for long.

Tripti Desai, president of city-based Bhoomata Ranragini Brigade, today said about 400 members of the organisation have planned to defy the ban on January 26.

"We feel it is a symbol of gender inequality which cannot be tolerated in the 21st century," she said.

Representatives of the organisation which fights for women's rights would meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to convey their demand of free entry at the temple, Desai said.

"If the CM decides to lift the ban on women, the temple trustees will have to comply," she said, adding that she also intended to write to the temple management urging it to consider the demand of fair treatment for women.

A young woman had recently breached the security at the Shani temple to enter the prohibited area and have darshan of the deity, causing flutter and evoking strong reactions that led to resignation of some of the office-bearers of temple trust.

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