A fresh controversy erupted on Tuesday when Bhoomata Ranragini Brigade leader Trupti Desai alleged that the police asked her to wear a saree during her darshan visit to the Mahalaxmi temple in Kolhapur on Wednesday.
An officer at Rajwada police station in Kolhapur gave her the “telephonic advice” to wear saree on Tuesday evening, she told.
She alleged that the officer asked her to visit the temple wearing a saree, and not in a salwar kameez, to honour the existing tradition while entering the inner sanctum.
“I have told them I was not going to wear short skirt or jeans. Salwar kameez is a comfortable Indian attire. I will not wear saree,” she said.
Desai, who spearheaded a successful campaign seeking entry for women in Shani Shingnapur shrine, also played a taped conversation she purportedly had with the officer.
The officer, identified as Anil Deshmukh, senior police inspector, purportedly urges Desai to honour the tradition, saying even men who enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple are required to wear ‘sovle’ (a special dhoti worn for performing religious rituals).
The officer said if Desai turns up wearing a saree, it would not hurt sentiments of people and help police maintain law and order.
Desai is scheduled to visit the temple on Wednesday evening along with her co-activists.
Breaking an age-old tradition, the trustees recently took a decision allowing women an unrestricted entry into the inner sanctum of the historical temple.
When contacted, Deshmukh admitted to calling up Desai.
Deshmukh said he requested her to wear saree as the priests at the temple did not allow some women who went there yesterday not clad in a saree.