Cops ask Desai to wear saree in Mahalaxmi temple tomorrow

Pune: A fresh controversy erupted today with Bhoomata Ranragini Brigade leader Trupti Desai alleging the police told her to wear a saree while she visits the Mahalaxmi temple in Kolhapur tomorrow for a darshan of the deity.

Desai told reporters she received a “telephonic advice” from an officer at Rajwada police station in Kolhapur this evening.

She alleged that the officer asked her to visit the temple clad in a saree, and not in 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 tomorrow 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 thereyesterday not clad in a saree.

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