Scuffle at Trimbakeshwar temple

The authorities had said that they would allow women inside the inner sanctum for an hour every day provided that they wear only ‘wet cotton or silk clothes’

Updated - October 17, 2016 08:06 pm IST

Published - April 20, 2016 06:24 pm IST - Pune

With women activists combating intransigent temple authorities across Maharashtra to gain access to the inner sanctums of temples, the Trimbakeshwar temple was the scene of yet another melee as activists of the Pune-based Swarajya Sanghatana were denied entry.

Like their counterparts at Kolhapur’s historic Mahalaxmi temple which has denied entry to women attired in Punjabi outfits, the Trimbakeshwar temple authorities too have decreed that they would allow women inside the gabhara (inner sanctum) for an hour every day provided that they wear only ‘wet cotton or silk clothes’. The time slotted for worship is between 6 and 7 in the morning.

The activists have categorically opposed these diktats, which they claim are riders designed to deliberately stymie their entry into the inner sanctum of Lord Shiva.

According to the activists, they were told by temple authorities and locals that the time for worship had elapsed as they tried to enter the sanctum at 6 a.m.

‘We followed the dress code, yet denied entry’

In the scuffle that followed, the women alleged that they were beaten up. A case was later lodged at the local police station against 200 locals, including the former president of Trimbakeshwar Municipal Council, Anagha Phadke.

“I was standing along with my fellow activists in the queue since 5 a.m. to gain entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. We strictly followed the dress code, yet some priests and women devotees deliberately obstructed us from gaining entry,” said Vanita Gutte, president of Swarajya Sanghatana.

“200 persons, including the former municipal president of Trimbakeshwar, have been booked under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 341 (wrongful restraint), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code,” said H.P. Kolhe, inspector of Trimbakeshwar police station.

The police will refer the CCTV footage and take action in this regard, said Mr. Kolhe.

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