On Saturday, the age-old practice of prohibiting women from offering prayers at the shrine located in Shani Shingnapur village was 'breached' when a woman climbed the security barricade to the 'chauthara' (platform) where the idol is installed and offered prayers, before disappearing in the crowd.
    
Yesterday, the villagers had performed a 'dudh abhishek' (milk purification) of the idol and observed a 'bandh' in the morning to protest the incident. Startled, the temple committee also swung into action today and suspended seven security personnel.
    
Terming the incident as 'ridiculous', Maharashtra's former Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Chandra Iyengar said, "God has created everyone equal and who are we to force anyone to follow specific process of offering devotion or faith. At least God never said so that a woman, even if she is menstruating, cannot enter a temple."
    
She said that since religious faith of a person is a specific and a crucial issue, hence government cannot interfere in such cases as it has to follow the law of the land (administration of the religious places).

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