Indian Hindu temple lifts ban on women devotees

Published: April 8, 2016
Bombay High Court said last week women have a fundamental right to go into places of worship. PHOTO: AFP

Bombay High Court said last week women have a fundamental right to go into places of worship. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: A Hindu temple in western India on Friday lifted a centuries-old ban forbidding female devotees from entering, after a court said women had a fundamental right to worship.

Activists have been campaigning to end Shani Shingnapur temple’s traditional ban, after authorities last year blocked a woman who attempted to enter its inner sanctum.

“We have followed the court order and allowed women devotees into the inner sanctum,” Satish, a temple official, told AFP by phone from Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra state.

India court says women have equal right to enter temples

Bombay High Court said last week women have a fundamental right to go into places of worship and asked authorities to ensure their safety.

The court’s directive followed a petition by the Bhoomata Brigade, a women’s group who attempted to enter the temple in January along with dozens of other activists.

Lead activist Trupti Desai said the ban constituted gender discrimination that should not be tolerated in the 21st century.

Indian villagers block women activists from Hindu temple

But despite the court order, hundreds of angry villagers blocked her and about 30 other women from going inside the temple at the weekend before being detained by police.

The skirmishes led the temple authorities to temporarily ban both men and women from entering the sanctum, in a bid to end the standoff.

Many religious places in India traditionally bar women from entering the core area of temples and mausoleums.

Indian women demanding access to temples take fight to Maharashtra

Kerala’s famous Sabarimala temple bans all female worshippers aged between 10 and 50 years.

Women have also been prevented from entering Mumbai’s Haji Ali Dargah mausoleum since 2011, with its trust saying close female proximity to the tomb of a revered saint is “a grievous sin” in Islam.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan; Rakiba
    Apr 8, 2016 - 5:25PM

    Good progressive decision by Bharatiya court…Irrespective of religion every citizen has equal rights..Fact is men historically have continued their hegemony over women using religion as a shield. Hope other religious institutions take the lead now.Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Apr 8, 2016 - 6:23PM

    Women can enter th temple but not the sanctum sanatorium ( the main core centre where the idols are kept ) for obvious reasons – its for the high priests who enter after maintaining a high level of cleanliness.Recommend

  • Haramullah
    Apr 8, 2016 - 8:02PM

    Proud of the progressive ruling of Bombay High Court and the progressive thinking of temple authorities. Hope similar dawn will be ponced on the Mumbai’s Haji Ali trust. Recommend

  • jaldee
    Apr 9, 2016 - 10:20AM

    Wow. Hindus are making slower progress. Islam was first in recognising women rights.
    And Muslim women have most rights in Islam.Recommend

  • Mega
    Apr 9, 2016 - 6:55PM

    @jaldee don’t joke.
    And Hindu Woman are allowed in all temples i.e. Laxmi, ram, krishna etc. 2. No one except preist is allowed in inner core room of temple. All men and woman take darshan from outside room.
    3. Temples that ban woman are ones were male deity is celibate= Bhramachari who has left worldly desires – woman, marriage, materialistic life. Same with woman shrine who are bhramakumari(celibate) men are banned from entering there. So as to not destroy their decades of monk, nun life. It has nothing to do with gender.Recommend

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