Mumbai: Supporting the demand for lifting restrictions on women's entry in Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said God cannot discriminate between genders and that he feels nobody should be barred from praying.
"What kind of God is this who bars entry of women in temples? If there is indeed such a God, I do not believe in Him. My God cannot discriminate between genders," Pawar told reporters here.
"I have already spoken to the temple authorities and requested them to re-consider their decision and allow women to enter the temple. Let us see the outcome," he said. Replying to a query, Pawar said the government cannot do anything much about the issue until villagers are convinced to shun traditional customs.
"First the villagers need to be taken into confidence on the issue and only then can the government do something about it," he said.
Defying an age-old tradition of not allowing women inside the sanctum sanctorum of Shani Shingnapur shrine, women protesters had recently tried to force their way into the temple but were stopped from doing so. They later met Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and submitted a memorandum to him in the regard.
Fadnavis had later, in a series of tweets, advocated for a change in cultural traditions, saying that Indian culture and Hindu religion give women the right to pray.
Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will also visit Shani Shingnapur on February 7 in a bid to resolve the deadlock between temple authorities and villagers.