In Yogi Adityanath’s UP, priest orders ‘purification’ of complex, deities’ statutes after woman BJP MLA’s visit

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New Delhi | Published: July 31, 2018 11:50 AM

The development in Uttar Pradesh comes amidst the uproar over a ban on entry of women of age group 10-50 years to Sabarimala temple even as the matter is pending in Supreme Court.

BJP MLA Manisha Anuragi, a legislator from the state’s Rath Assembly constituency, visited the temple on July 12 while she was in her assembly constituency to attend a function.

Temple authorities in Uttar Pradesh’s Hamirpur have stoked a controversy over their decision to ‘purify’ the complex with ‘Gangajal’ following the entry of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Manisha Anuragi. The temple priest even sent statutes of deities to Allahabad for purification. Anuragi, a legislator from the state’s Rath Assembly constituency, visited the temple on July 12 while she was in her assembly constituency to attend a function. The priest of the temple alleged that women were not allowed to enter the temple.

“Till today no women had entered the temple. Women are not allowed here. When Manisha Anuragi entered the premises, I was not there, otherwise, I would not have allowed her to enter,” the priest was quoted as saying by ANI. Anuragi hit back saying the incident was “insult to women”.

“It’s an insult to women if such things have happened. These are deeds of half-witted people,” she said. The locals believe that the temple is from the Mahabharat era. “Since there is a ban on women entering the temple, they can stand outside and pray,” a local said.

The development in Uttar Pradesh comes amidst the uproar over a ban on entry of women of age group 10-50 years to Sabarimala temple even as the matter is pending in Supreme Court. Earlier in July, the apex court had said women have the constitutional right to enter Sabarimala temple in Kerala and pray like men without being discriminated against. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which has been hearing a petition challenging the decision of the Devaswom board banning entry of women of age group 10-50 years, said that even if there was no law, the women cannot be discriminated against with regard to offering prayer in a temple.

“When a man can enter, a woman can also go. What applies to a man, applies to a woman also,” the bench also comprising justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra had observed. “The right to enter a temple is not dependent on a legislation. It is the constitutional right,” the bench had said, adding that this right is enshrined under Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution.

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