Indians decry Hindu leader’s temple rape comment


(Gender-based discrimination / Gender-based Violence / Tradition, Culture, Religion)

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Hindu religious leader Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati has ignited an outcry in India after saying that entry of women in Shani temple in Maharashtra state will lead to more crimes such as rapes.

Commenting on the recent entry of women in a temple in western Maharashtra state, Shankaracharya, 94, said on Sunday that “women should not feel triumphant about visiting the sanctum sanctorum of Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra.

“They should stop all the drum beating about what they have done. Worshipping Shani will bring ill luck to them and give rise to crimes against them like rape,” he was quoted as saying by the Indian Express newspaper on Sunday.

Women’s groups and activists decried the comment, describing the statement as patriarchal and against the dignity of women.

“Society is not going to tolerate this. Women will struggle against such mindset,” Jagmati Sangwan, General Secretary of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), told Al Jazeera by phone on Monday.

Last week, Maharashtra High Court struck down a 400-year-old ban on entry of women in Shani Shingnapur temple on the ground that women cannot be discriminated on basis of their gender.

Read the full article on Al Jazeera.