Shani temple row: Sri Sri Ravishankar for clearing misconception

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Bengaluru, Jan.27 (ANI): With Maharashtra’s Shani Shingnapur temple becoming the battle ground between the women activists and villagers, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar on Wednesday said the entry of the feminine gender can take place in the temple only after the misconception is cleared in the minds of the locals that no bad omen will take place in the village.

Sri Sri Ravishankar said the entry of women inside the temple cannot happen with a force.

“It should take place with understanding, clearing the misconception, giving them the assurance that no bad thing will happen to the village as ‘shani’ God will not be angry if women enter the temple,” he told ANI.

“People need to be educated that there is no discrimination against women in the Hindu religion. So, unlike many other faiths in the world where women are not given full rights, Hinduism gives them full right to perform ‘pooja’,” he added.

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The spiritual leader further said there is a fear in the minds of the people to change the tradition, which they have been following from the last thousand years.

“They think that if they change, may be something bad will happen to them. This is the fear that is gripping Shani Shingnapur,” he added.

Meanwhile, the members of the board that runs the temple have said they are ready ‘for a dialogue’ after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the issue should be resolved through dialogue.

“Indian culture and Hindu religion gives women the right to pray. A change in yesterday’s traditions is our culture. Discrimination in praying is not in our culture. The temple authorities should resolve the issue through a dialogue,” Fadnavis tweeted.

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The women, members and supporters of the Bhumata Brigade, arrived from Pune yesterday in six buses and wanted to enter the temple’s sanctum where the idol of Lord Shani is placed on an open-air platform.

However, the group led by women activist Trupti Desai was stopped from marching towards the temple by the police near Supa.

They were also detained by the police for some time, but later released.

After being stopped by the police, Trupti said that it was a black day for women as they were being stopped from exercising their rights.

The temple drew attention in November 2015 after a woman had offered prayers at the popular shrine in ‘breach’ of the age-old practice of prohibiting entry of women, after which the temple committee had to suspend seven security men and the villagers to perform purification rituals.

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The temple attracts millions of tourists and devotees from across the country and abroad. (ANI)

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