As the stand-off over the entry of women of menstrual age into Kerala's Sabarimala temple continued, Union minister Smriti Irani, responding to the controversy, said that “everyone has the right to pray, not to desecrate”.
"I believe I have right to pray, but I don't have a right to desecrate. And that is the difference we need to recognise and respect. So the difference is... I am nobody to speak on Supreme Court verdict because I am a current serving cabinet minster. But just plain common sense... Would you take sanitary napkins soaked in menstrual blood and walk into a friend's home? You would not. And would you think it is respectful to do the same when you walk into the house of God?" Irani was quoted by the Indian Express as saying, at the Young Thinkers’ Conference organised by the British Deputy High Commission and the Observer Research Foundation in Mumbai.
#WATCH Union Minister Smriti Irani says," I have right to pray,but no right to desecrate. I am nobody to speak on SC verdict as I'm a serving cabinet minster. Would you take sanitary napkins seeped in menstrual blood into a friend's home? No.Why take them into house of God?" pic.twitter.com/Fj1um4HGFk
— ANI (@ANI) October 23, 2018
Although responding to an audience question, she talked about her own multi-faith family and how she would not be allowed into temples with her husband and child. Irani's remarks drew sharp criticism on Twitter.
Much ado about nothing and something god-given. Smriti Irani being a speaker at the Young Thinker's Conference while airing regressive opinions is the important issue here. — Mickie Merchant (@MickieMerchant) October 23, 2018
Young Thinkers’ Conference is discussing women’s menstrual cycle and that too in such derogatory terms. I am ashamed of our women leaders.
— SB (@shraddhs) October 23, 2018
A theist would say "God has no problem ,as god has made human this way." Reactionaries wanted to keep women as second class citizen in the name of tradition. Being a woman and being a feminist is totally different thing.Irani is batting for patriarchs. — Mukesh (@Mukesde7) October 23, 2018
Wasn’t “God” the one who created women and their menstrual cycle? so not only must women hide something as natural as menstruation.. but we must also keep it away from “the house of God” right.
— French. (@Jinx_Crimson91) October 23, 2018
Oh boy. Indian govt minister on whether menstruating women should be allowed into famous temple: “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" https://t.co/4uc1IaNo9c — michael safi (@safimichael) October 23, 2018
"Would you wear a sanitary pad and go to a friend's house?" asks Smriti Irani. Duh. Yes. Most women do. What about you ma'am, would you wear one and go to work, or stay home for 5 days a month? https://t.co/lUC1CXPefu
— Prasanto K Roy (@prasanto) October 23, 2018
Smriti Irani must be the only woman in India to get a period leave. I mean she won't take her blood-soaked napkins inside the sacred walls of her ministry building. pic.twitter.com/W0Y0RaSyf7 — Dr Rama S (@ramasriniv) October 23, 2018
Live visuals from inside Smriti Irani's brain when she finds out human bodies carry about 5 liters of blood that we perforce "take" to a friend's house or a house of God when we go there pic.twitter.com/nAecjKzUwk
— Neha Yadav (@nay_yeah) October 23, 2018
But some also came to the defense of Minister of Textiles, arguing that her quote was being misrepresented.
I too thought @smritiirani was talking about allowing women into Sabrimala but she's not. She's talking about desecration. Context: female activist wanted to take a blood soaked sanitary pad into the shrine. https://t.co/WteMHWfw10 — Rupa Subramanya (@rupasubramanya) October 23, 2018
U need to undrstnd the context she has spoken wth. Putting pad where it belongs has no issue but if some1 keeps pad in hands wanting to enter temple is disrespect of Dharma. So before U say anything else I want you understand whole case here.. @smritiirani explained it perfectly. https://t.co/jxsJKZ4wp0
— Harshal Purohit (@iPurohitHarshal) October 23, 2018
Later, Irani herself tweeted addressing the reports and calling it "fake news". She said she will soon release a video to address the controversy.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it would hear on 13 November the petitions challenging its Sabarimala verdict allowing women of all age groups entry into the temple.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SK Kaul told lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara that it has already passed an order with regard to the listing of petitions.
Earlier the court had noted that there were 19 review petitions pending in the matter, filed by National Ayyappa Devotees Association and others seeking a review of its verdict.
A five-judge constitution bench by a ratio of 4:1 had held that women of all age groups should be allowed entry into the temple.
With inputs from Press Trust of India.
Updated Date: Oct 23, 2018 19:41 PM