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Anti-superstition body revives fight for equality of men and women at all places of worship

At a press conference, MANS general secretary Hamid Dabholkar said that on April 8, women got entry into the inner sanctum of Shani Shingnapur temple.

The Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti (MANS) said on Monday that it has revived its fight for equality of men and women at all places of worship irrespective of religions. At a press conference, MANS general secretary Hamid Dabholkar said that on April 8, women got entry into the inner sanctum of Shani Shingnapur temple.

“The fight for women’s right to enter the sanctom sanctorum of the Shani Shingnapur temple was started by MANS founder Dr Narendra Dabholkar in 1998. Though his killers are still at large, his thoughts are still alive, which was reflected in the women securing their right to pray in the temple,” said Dabholkar.

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Recalling the fight started by his father, Dabholkar said, “After lots of debates in society and the media, in November 2000, MANS had declared that it would march to Shani Shingnapur. Social stalwarts like Dr ND Patil, Baba Adhav, Shriram Lagu, Pushpa Bhave and Vidya Bal participated in the march. There were around 1,200 MANS volunteers who participated in the march.”

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“My father was very keen that the agitation should be done following all the principles of satyagraha and nobody should take law into their own hands and try and force an entry on the sacred platform,” Dabholkar said, adding that the social activists were arrested by the police then.

Dabholkar equated his father’s movement with the one started by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in Kalaram temple and the one by Sane Guruji in Pandharpur. “MANS has always opposed the exploitation of women in the name of god and religion. Not just Hindu places of worship, but all places of worship and the inner sanctum of all religious places should be thrown open to women,” he said.

Dabholkar said that a petition made in connection with allowing women entry into Haji Ali Dargah was still pending. “We are with the women who are fighting with the trustees of Haji Ali Dargah,” he said, adding that a state-level conference is being organised in Ahmednagar on May 1 to take the fight for equality of women and men at all places of worship.

First published on: 12-04-2016 at 05:41:34 am
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