New Delhi: In the wake of the Sabarimala controversy centred around menstruating women entering the temple, Union textiles minister Smriti Irani has said that “while everyone has the right to pray, not to desecrate”, the Indian Express reported.
In a news clip tweeted by CNN-News 18, Irani can be heard saying, “I am nobody to speak on the Supreme Court verdict because I am a current serving Cabinet minister.” The tweet has since been deleted.
However, she adds that, it is “plain common sense”: “Would you take sanitary napkins soaked in menstrual blood into a friend’s home? So, why would you take them into the house of God”. Her remarks came in the light of an activist who intended to take a blood-soaked sanitary napkin into Sabarimala.
Correction: @smritiirani talking about “desecration”given a female activist wanted to take blood soaked sanitary pad into Sabrimala. Read in that light,her comment not as outrageous as it sounds.She was not talking about temple entry for menstruating women https://t.co/xsbE6RGAdP
— Rupa Subramanya (@rupasubramanya) October 23, 2018
Later in the evening, Irani mounted her defence on Twitter in a thread, saying, “Since many people are talking about my comments — let me comment on my comment. As a practising Hindu married to a practising Zoroastrian I am not allowed to enter a fire temple to pray.”
I respect that stand by the Zoroastrian community / priests and do not approach any court for a right to pray as a mother of 2 Zoroastrian children. Similarly Parsi or non Parsi menstruating women irrespective of age DO NOT go to a Fire Temple.
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) October 23, 2018
On September 28, a five-judge constitution bench ruled that not allowing women in their “menstruating years” into the Sabarimala is ultra vires the constitution, and all women should be allowed to enter the temple.
Following the verdict, while the Kerala government pushed forward with the Supreme Court’s verdict to lift the ban on entry of menstruating women into the Sabarimala temple, the state’s BJP unit has urged that an ordinance be passed to continue the ban
Since the Supreme Court verdict, several public figures have come under fire for their controversial remarks on the issue.
On October 13, Malayalam actor Kollam Thulasi, a BJP supporter, issued an open threat against the ban on entry of women into Sabarimala temple, saying that any woman who attempts to enter the temple should be “ripped apart”.
Five days later, Union minister of state for shipping and finance Pon Radhakrishnan said the movement was started by “people with perverted minds” and asked if it was fair to level accusations over incidents that happened years ago.
This story was updated at 6:50 pm to include Smriti Irani’s response on Twitter.