“BJP and its parental organisation the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) are playing dirty politics over Saabrimala issue. The stoic silence maintained by otherwise our very vocal Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is more disheartening. I want to ask why he has kept mum on the issue while people supporting his ideology heckled women journalists,” said Trupti Desai, leader of the Bhumata Brigade who was detained by the Pune police ahead of PM Modi’s visit to Shirdi on Friday.
Talking to National Herald over phone from Pune, Desai said that the Pune police, at the behest of the Fadnavis government kept her under “illegal detention” for more than eight hours.
“They released me after PM Modi left Shirdi. Why is the BJP government in Maharashtra so scared of women’s voice?” asked Desai.
Trupti Desai hit the headlines for the first time in 2016 when she - defying 400-year old tradition - tried to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Shani Shingnapur temple Ahmadnagar. She had filled a case in Bombay High Court against the ban on for women’s entry into the sanctum sanctorum
“I wanted to meet the PM in Shirdi to request his intervention in Sabarimala case but the Pune police detained me as soon as I stepped out of my house at around 6 am in the morning,” she added.
On Thursday, October 18, Desai had written a letter to the Superintendent of Police, Ahmednagar, demanding to meet the PM. Her demand however was turned down by the district administration.
According to Desai, the BJP and the RSS are adding fuel to the fire in Sabarimala row because they want to capture the power in Kerala by overthrowing the Left government.
“In order to pursue their political agenda, they (BJP-RSS) are acting as the contractors of the Hindu religion. Who has given them rights to defy the Supreme Court verdict on Sabrimala?” asked Desai, adding that the chief priest of the temple should face trial for contempt of the court.
The Supreme Court, in a historic decision this year struck down a rule that disallowed girls and women in the age group of 10 to 50 years from entering the Sabarimala temple in Kerala. Headed by the then Chief Justice, Dipak Misra, the Constitution bench of five judges in a 4-1 verdict said the temple rule violated women’s right to equality and right to worship.
Referring the Supreme Court’s verdict, Desai also criticised role of the Congress party with regard to Sabarimala controversy.
Alleging that the police, priest and politicians are responsible for the discrimination against women, she said, “in the eyes of the Constitution men and women both are equal, but there are certain groups who do not want equality in the society.”
It is worth mentioning that the Constitution of India considers “freedom of religion” as a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 25-28 of the Constitution.
What will be her next course of action? Responding to the question, the activist said that her organisation Bhumata Brigade will launch a movement in favor of women’s entry into Sabarimala temple.
“I will visit Sabarimala next month with my fellow workers. And let me tell you, we cannot be cowed into silence,” said Desai in a challenging tone, adding that despite receiving death-threats for speaking in favor of women’s rights, her determination to enter the temple remains unshakeable.
She told NH that along with her comrades, she will start a sit-in protest in front of lord Ayyappa’s temple, if the chief priest does not open the temple s gate.
Trupti Desai hit the headlines for the first time in 2016 when she - defying a 400-year old tradition - tried to enter the sanctum sanctorum of Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmadnagar. She had filled a case in Bombay High Court against he ban on women’s entry into the sanctum sanctorum.
Bombay High Court had ruled in favor of Desai, observing that it is the fundamental right of women to go into any places of worship.