In a big victory for gender equality, the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra has lifted the 400-year-old ban on the entry of women at the sanctum sanctorum.
The temple trust announced the decision to facilitate unrestricted entry to all devotees to the core area of the shrine.
After the decision was announced, Bhumata Ranrangini Brigade leader Trupti Desai, who had led a sustained campaign for entry of women into the temple, reached the Lord Saturn temple with other women and offered prayers.
The removal of gender bias came on auspicious day of ‘Gudi Padwa’ which marks New Year across Maharashtra.
Recently, a women movement began which claimed for equal rights to women to that of men in access to temples in Maharashtra.
This women movement was countered by some orthodox sections of Maharashtra. The state govt. of Maharashtra initially under pressure from orthodox sections did not act on right of women.
The Bombay High Court ordered the state govt. to implement the provisions of Maharashtra Hindu Places of Public Worship (Entry Authorisation) Act, 1956. This Act requires provides for equal access for temples to both men and women.