Mumbai | In the wake of Bombay High Court’s ruling that it is women’s fundamental right to enter places of worship in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena today said the issue concerning the Shani Shingnapur temple should have been sorted out among stakeholders instead of dragging it to the court.
The Sena also sought to know if a similar decision will be taken to uphold the religious rights of Muslim women. The law and order problem that has arisen due to the court order is disturbing. Will the decision to allow women inside all temples be applicable to Muslims as well?, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said.
The Sena said Haji Ali Dargah trustees cite the Shariah law to deny entry to women inside it, as a result of which women are still stuck withthe age-old religious traditions. Will the courts say Muslim women should shun their old religious practices and get equal rights? the ruling ally further sought to know. There needs to be a debate if entry of women is banned there merely due to blind faith or because of scientific reasons, it suggested.
The issue should have been solved by a discussion among the stakeholders and the court should not have been approached, the Sena said, adding, courts have no role to play in matters of faith. Maharashtra has always been at the forefront of providing women opportunity at par with men, and social reformers like Mahatma Phule and Maharshi Karve have even been ostracised for their continuous efforts, it pointed out.
The Sena also took a dig at the shifting focus to women’s entry in temples rather than other issues like the drought and farmers’ suicides in Vidarbha and Marathwada. Is the fight for entry in temple the only problem left in Maharashtra? Have the drought problems in Marathwada and farmers suicides in Vidarbha ceased? It seems that even the terror issues and day-to-day problems of common man have ended and thus this fight on temple entry, the Sena said.
The high court had last week said it is women’s fundamental right to go into places of worship and it is the government’s duty to protect it. The debate over the issue in Maharashtra escalated after a woman last year tried to enter and offer prayers at the Shani Shingnapur temple at Ahmednagar in ‘breach’ of the age-old practice of prohibiting entry of women.