The women, who had planned to storm the temple to defy a centuries-old ban on praying at the sanctified idol in the temple, were taken to the Supa police station in Maharashtra.
Around 1,500 women from all over Maharashtra have been making their way to the temple town since morning. They have been travelling by buses and private vehicles to protest against gender discrimination.
But the police, anticipating trouble in the town, stopped the buses 40-70 kms before Shingnapur in Ahmednagar district. Some of the other women who were travelling by cars, mobilised by activists of the Bhumata Rangragini Brigade, were stopped en route by nearly 1,000 villagers and the local police.
Group of women attempting to enter Shani Shingnapur temple’s sanctum sanctorum,stopped by police in Supa,Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/ryJ5QTHaMh— ANI (@ANI_news) January 26, 2016
ScoopWhoop had reported a few days ago about the coming showdown, and the decade-old history behind it.
While the buses and cars were stopped by the police, the activists continued to protest while lying down on the road. They announced that they would follow peaceful Gandhian ways to assert their right to pray at the temple.
“We have already booked a helicopter and if we are not permitted to enter from the open ground, we shall drop ladders from the chopper and descend. We are not scared of any security since women’s rights are concerned,” Trupti Desai, president of Bhumata Ranragini Brigade (BRB) had told the Times of India on Monday.
However, the district administration denied permission for the use of any helicopters yesterday itself. Also, security was increased at Ahmednagar district as the temple authorities and some Hindu groups had threatened to physically stop the women from entering the temple. Three levels of barricades were put up and a considerable force of women constables and village volunteers surrounded the premises of the shrine.