Nashik : The wife of a sarpanch (village head) was not allowed to participate in a puja conducted at temple in Sugaon-Khurd village of Akole tehsil of Ahmednagar during an annual fair, sparking condemnations from women activists.
This is the second time that Nirmala was not allowed to participate in the puja. Cases have been registered earlier, but her husband Mahesh Vaidya said that they would resolve the issue through discussions during the 1 May village meeting and outside intervention would not be needed.
Mahesh (32) had married Nirmala (28) in 2007, when his first wife died 9 months after giving birth. The Kashai Mata Kulswamini Mandir has been built by the villagers. However the accused Kisan Karbhari Vaidya (80) states that the temple belongs to him and he could decide entry, Mahesh claimed.
He also said that, Kisan worked as a dabbawala in Mumbai for several years and is back in the village after retiring and is a cantankerous old man.
“The village has formed a 9-member committee to amicably resolve the issue through discussions,” according to the committee members Laxman Vaidya and Madhav Vaidya. They further said that, they would solve the issue during the 1 May meeting at the village level and take steps to avoid further such cases.
Andhshraddha Nirmulan Samiti (ANS) activist lawyer Ranjana Pagar-Gawande said that, the ANS could not intervene unless there was a formal complaint given to it. “The victim told me that the village meeting would solve the issue and we are looking forward to its settlement,” she said.
Ranragini Bhumata Brigade chief Trupti Desai said that the issue was serious. “We have worked to open temples to all castes especially women. This is discrimination. If they fail to resolve the issue, I will personally escort the victim and take darshan,” she said.