Update: 5.25 p.m. IST -- Creating history, a group of women reportedly entered the sanctum sanctorum of the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra for the first time after the temple authorities opened its gates to the inner chambers of the temple to women. The decision came in the wake of a group of men breaking open a barricade to the inner sanctum on the occasion of Gudi Padwa, the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, and the New Year according to the lunisolar calendar.
Original Story -- The Shani Shingnapur temple administration turned over a new leaf Friday as it allowed women to enter the inner sanctum of the temple after almost hundred men broke a barricade and entered the premises. The temple administration had earlier barred men from entering after the Bombay High Court ordered that women cannot be stopped from entering the inner sanctum.
The decision came after numerous men broke barricades set up by the temple administration to pray on the occasion of Hindu new year called Gudi Padwa. Earlier, the Bombay High Court ruled that entry to temples in a fundamental right of women and the state must protect it, according to the Times of India.
"We welcome the decision taken by the trust. It's a victory for women. This is a great achievement against gender inequality," Trupti Desai, leader of Bhumata Brigade — a women's activist group that fought for allowing women's entry into temples — was quoted as saying by CNN-IBN.
"There is no discrimination in religion, either on caste or on gender," Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, according to ANI.
The TOI quoted high court Chief Justice Waghela as ruling: "There is no law that prevents entry of women in any place. If you allow men then you should allow women also. If a male can go and pray before the deity then why not women? It is the state government's duty to protect the rights of women."
Women were previously not allowed into the inner sanctum of the temple. Desai with other activists had attempted to enter the premises prior to the high court ruling but were stopped by the police, India Today reported.