Nashik: Signalling a major social change, women on Thursday morning were permitted entry to the Trimbakeshwar temple here, one of the 12 'Jyotirlingas' (a devotional object representing Lord Shiva) in the country.
A group of three women activists of the Swarajya Sanghatana led by Vanita Gutte, was allowed to enter the temple amidst tight security.
Bhumata Ranragini Brigade President Trupti Desai, who started the campaign for women's entry to all places of worship in January, welcomed the development and announced she will visit the temple on Friday.
This sigificant development came 13 days after women were permitted entry to the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district on 8 April. However, on 20 April, women activists were allegedly manhandled by a group of locals while they were trying to enter into the sanctum sanctorum of the famous Trimbakeshwar temple on Wednesday, following which the police booked 200 persons.
Former president of Trimbakeshwar Municipal Council Anagha Phadke is also among those booked, police said.
Talking to reporters, Vanita Gutte, president of Pune-based Swarajya Sanghatana said, "I was standing along with our women activists in the queue since 5 am to gain entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. We also followed the dress code — wearing wet cotton clothes — for the purpose."
"The entry into the sanctum sanctorum is restricted between 6 am and 7 am, the time that has been fixed by the temple trust. However, some local priests and women deliberately stood in the queue before us and obstructed us from entering the sanctum. They also manhandled us," Gutte added.
Thereafter, the activists lodged a complaint with Trimbakeshwar police against the priests and women. "Two hundred persons, including the former municipal president of Trimbakeshwar, have been booked under IPC 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)," Inspector of Trimbakeshwar police station HP Kolhe said.
Police will go through the CCTV footage and will take action in this regard, he said.
The Trimbakeshwar Devasthan Trust recently decided to allow women into the famous Lord Shiva temple's 'garbha griha' (sanctum sanctorum) for an hour everyday, but with a rider that they must wear wet cotton or silk clothes while offering prayers in the core area.
On 14 April, based on a complaint by Gutte that they were being obstructed from entering the temple, police had registered offences against nearly 250 people, including members of the temple trust, some local priests, and temple workers, under relevant sections.
with inputs from Agencies
Updated Date: Apr 21, 2016 15:49 PM