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Female activists blocked from entering temple in India

A group of female activists has been prevented from entering a temple in western India. The incident came a day after a court ruled that women have a fundamental right to enter Hindu places of worship.

Around 25 women attempted on Saturday to enter the shrine of Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district, but were blocked by a group of villagers, both male and female.

On Friday, the High Court in Mumbai had ruled that women have a fundamental right to enter Hindu places of worship across the state of Maharashtra, despite heavy opposition from locals who want to uphold centuries of a tradition barring women from doing so.

Police reportedly intervened after the villagers threatened to attack any women who entered the shrine, despite the fact that the court upheld on Friday a 1956 law that punishes anyone who prevents women from entering temples.

The court made the ruling after female activist Trupti Desai challenged bans on female worshippers as discriminatory.

Of India's 1.2 billion people, around 80 percent are Hindus. Other religions that have large representation in the country include Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.

blc/ng (AP, AFP)

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