Activist who led Shani Shingnapur stir hails SC Sabarimala order
Mumbai, Sep 28 : Activist Trupti Desai, who led an agitation earlier to allow women to enter the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra, Friday hailed the Supreme Court's order on Kerala's Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, in its 4:1 verdict, Friday said banning entry of women to Kerala's Sabarimala temple is gender discrimination and the practice violates rights of Hindu women.
Desai told PTI that the SC order was a victory for women's constitutional rights and a setback for the patriarchal mentality and high-handedness of the temple trustees which had refused entry to women there.
Desai said she planned to visit the Kerala temple soon. However, some devotees said that they would go by "existing beliefs" (practice of exclusion of women of 10-50 age group) despite the SC verdict.
Remany Unnikrishanan and Sunitha Nair, both Ayyappa devotees, said, "We will go by existing beliefs. Before undertaking the pilgrimage to Sabarimala, devotees have to undertake strict penance for 41 days. We don't think there is any gender bias against women in the old beliefs."
Unnikrishanan and Nair said that there was nothing to be happy about the SC verdict.
Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, is the most famous and prominent among all the Sastha temples in Kerala.
It is situated on a hilltop (about 3000 feet above sea level) named Sabarimala in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district.
Desai's Bhumata Ranragini Brigade had led an agitation to allow entry of women into Shani Shingnapur Temple in Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra.
The Bombay High Court, in its order in April 2016, had allowed entry to women into the temple dedicated to Shani.