Around 200 members of Bhumata Ranragini Brigade (BRB) on 7 March left for Nashik in Maharashtra seeking to break the bar on female devotees at the sanctum sanctorum of the Trimbakeshwar Shiva temple.
The members are led by Trupti Desai who had attempted to break a similar ban (on women’s entry) at Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district.
Devotees across the country are celebrating Mahashivratri on Monday, a special day of reverence for Lord Shiva. Trimbakeshwar, about 160 km from here, is one of the 12 Jyotirlings — the most important Shiva shrines — in India.
“Why should women be debarred from entering the temple’s sanctum sanctorum? It is our constitutional right to enter any place of worship… It is the auspicious Mahashivratri when we are taking this initiative,” said BRB president Trupti Desai.
At the same time, the temple trust has stated no to lift the ban on entry of women as it was an age-old tradition and that no objection was ever raised on the topic before.
We can’t review age-old tradituions which state that women’s entry into the inner sanctum of Trimbakeshwar temple be banned,” said a temple trustee, as per CNN-IBN. He also accused Desai of being backed by Congress party and wants to defame Modi government as well as Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
She appealed to the good offices of chief minister Devendra Fadanvis not to arrest their members on the way, as the authorities did during the earlier campaign. If women are allowed in the sanctum sanctorum of Kashi Vishweshwar Temple, why not Trimbakeshwar temple? asked Desai.
The brigade, as per Nashik Police diktat, will now proceed in small vehicles and carry 150 to 175 women. They will try to enter the sanctum in a peaceful manner.
Meanwhile, Nashik police and district administration have made special security arrangements at the temple complex. Some women’s groups and right wing organisations, including Mahila Dakshata Samiti, Sharada Mahila mandal, Purohit Sangh have come out against the BRB’s activism.