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Trupti Desai detained by police on her way to the temple

Bhoomata Brigade leader Trupti Desai was detained on Monday in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district while heading to the Shani Shingnapur temple where she had spearheaded a campaign last month against ban on female devotees entering the sacred platform. However, she was subsequently released.

Trupti Desai-AV

Desai was taken under preventive detention to maintain peace when she was heading for Shani Shingnapur, Ahmednagar police said.

Desai told from Ahmednagar she was detained along with six colleagues while on her way to Shingnapur from Pune to meet the temple trustees to discuss the issue of appointment of women priests to end gender bias.

“It is against democracy to prevent somebody from going to a place with peaceful intentions,” she said.

Desai had stirred a national debate on gender bias at various temples in the country with her attempt to enter the inner platform (chauthara) at the Shingnapur’s Shani temple where women are traditionally not allowed to worship. Over 400 women, mainly hailing from Pune, led by Desai had on January 26 launched a protest against the tradition.

Earlier this month, she sought a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to discuss the demands of the Brigade, which however, is still to materialise.

A mediation effort on the part of spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar had failed to end the deadlock on the issue with Desai refusing to accept the ‘Tirupati model’ of darshan that would keep both men and women away from the inner sanctum which houses an idol of Lord Shani.

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