The event leading up to Friday’s landmark breaking of gender barriers were scripted, according to sources in the temple trust who said the storming of the sanctum sanctorum by men was planned to ostensibly legitimise the decision to let women in hours later.
According to sources, the trust had decided in a meeting held two days back that Gudi Padwa will be a good occasion to reverse its decision of preventing women inside the temple. However, letting it happen meekly especially after the Bombay high court order would have meant a loss of face for the trust, which had barred women from climbing the platform citing century-old tradition.
The high court on March 30 ruled that entering temple is a fundamental right of women and that the government is duty bound to protect this right. The judgment put temple trust in a bind especially when the Maharashtra government too made it clear that it will follow the court ruling.
“I am happy that women will finally be allowed to enter inside the temple. However it pains me to see when we tried to seek entry by legitimate ways, the trust did not accept our demands,” said prominent feminist Vidya Bal, who was also the petitioner in high court demanding equal rights to women.