#RightToPray

Top Indian official calls for end of exclusion of women from temples

(L) Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis (Getty Images); (R) (Getty Images)

After tweeting his support on Tuesday evening, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met on Wednesday with activists who want to end a centuries-old ban on women’s entry into an Indian temple. Trupti Desai and her activist group Bhumata Brigade led 500 female activists on Tuesday toward the innermost part of the Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar, before being physically blocked by nearly 1,000 villagers and police. Women are banned from the innermost part of the temple, where an idol of Lord Shani, a Hindu deity, is worshipped. In response to the incident, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted his support for the activists Tuesday evening: “Indian culture and Hindu religion gives women the right to pray… Discrimination in praying is not in our culture. The temple authorities should resolve the issue through a dialogue.”

The tweet opened the door for talks between activists and members of the board that run the temple, who now say that they are ready “for a dialogue.” Others across India, and worldwide, have taken to Twitter as well to show their support under #RightToPray. Speaking after meeting today with Fadnavis, Desai reported that the Chief Minister told her he will work to support the movement.

Read the full story at NDTV News.

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