Pune: Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Sunday said there should be no discrimination between men and women trying to enter the Shani Shingnapur temple.
"There should be no discrimination. Everybody has equal right to worship. I suggested that no one except the priest should be allowed to be on the holy platform," Ravi Shankar said.
"I spoke to Trupti Desai. She said there should be women priests as well," he added.
Earlier today, he said that the people, who are prohibiting the entry of women in the temple, have no rationale behind their argument, adding that their mindset could be changed only by persuasion and not by force.
"Those who are trying to not allow women inside the temple premises, actually have fear in their minds. They think that a bad omen will take place if women go inside the Shani Shingnapur temple. On what basis such people are saying that women should not be allowed inside the temple? The mindset of such people cannot be changed by force. We have to change their mindset through persuasion," Ravishankar said.
"It is nowhere written in the scriptures that women should not enter inside the temples. If that would have been the case, women would have not been allowed inside India's biggest temple-Kashi Vishwanath temple," he added.
On January 26, at least 400 women volunteers, mainly hailing from Pune and led by Trupti Desai, president of Bhumata Brigade, made an unsuccessful attempt to storm the 'chauthara' of the temple when police stopped the marchers at Supa village, 70 kms from the temple.
The temple drew attention in November 2015 after a woman had offered prayers at the popular shrine in 'breach' of the age-old practice of prohibiting entry of women, after which the temple committee had to suspend seven security men and the villagers to perform purification rituals.
The temple attracts millions of tourists and devotees from across the country and abroad.