IAS officer Ritika Jindal is trending today on social media. As per reports, Jindal took a stand when she was denied participation in a “havan” at Shoolini Temple in Himachal Pradesh’s Solan, on basis of her gender. The incident happened on Ashtami, celebrated on the eighth day of Navratri, a day on which girls are worshipped as an avatar of goddess Durga across many Hindu households. Ritika Jindal’s actions have earned her both praise and criticism. Here’s what you should know about the IAS officer.

Incident at Shoolini Temple

On the occasion of Durga Ashtami on October 24, Saturday, Jindal was at Shoolini temple to oversee arrangements. While there were no restrictions on women’s entry at the temple, the tradition goes that no woman can join and be part of the ‘havan‘ that is held at the temple. Ironically, the temple is dedicated to the Goddess of Victory, Maa Shoolini. As a “havan” was underway at the temple, Jindal made a request to be allowed to partake in it, which was dismissed. On facing resistance from the priests Jindal said that such a mindset needs to be challenged by women, reported Amar Ujala.

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Speaking to Amar Ujala about the same, Jindal said in Hindi, “We talk of respecting women on Durga Ashtami, but have deprived them of their rights. I had gone to the temple to inspect the arrangements there. The women were allowed to enter the temple and perform puja, but were not allowed to sit for the havan. I was taken aback by this revelation. Being a woman first, and then an administrator, I took it upon myself to fight for women’s rights.”

Social media reaction:

While many people have applauded Ritika Jindal for standing up for what she thought was right, numerous people have called her out on social media. One Twitter user called her actions “nothing but absolute misuse of power”.

Another user, however, wrote that Jindal embodies the “true spirit” of Dushera.

About Ritika Jindal

Jindal was born and brought up in Moga, Punjab. She was the CBSE topper of northern India in commerce stream in her batch. She graduated from the prestigious Sri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. Immediately after completing her graduation, she started preparing for the Union Public Service Commission examination in 2017. However, as her father was soon diagnosed with tongue cancer, she was unable to clear the exam in her first attempt.

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In 2018, during her second attempt, her father was further diagnosed with lung cancer. Despite facing adversities on the personal front, Ritika Jindal cleared the exam with a score of 330 out of 500, and securing 88th rank.

Shikha Chandra is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.

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