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Women’s entry in Shani Shingapur will lead to rise in rape cases: Shankaracharya

Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati has waded into a controversy after he said that the entry of women in the Shani Shingnapur temple would lead to a rise in crimes against them like rape.

“Women should not feel triumphant about visiting the sanctum sanctorum of the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra. They should stop all 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 said on Sunday.

A 400-year-old ban on the entry of women in the shrine’s core area was lifted by the temple trust last week, following advocacy group Bhoomata Brigade’s agitation against gender bias and the Bombay high court’s order upholding the equal rights to worship.

Noting that worshipping shani is not good for women, Swaroopanand said that instead of exulting over visiting the sanctum sanctorum of the Shani Shinganapur temple, they should have done something about stopping men from consuming intoxicating substances under whose influence they commit crimes against them like rape.

Swaroopanand, who is the Shankaracharya of the Dwarka-Shardapeeth, is on a fortnight-long visit to Haridwar.

Criticising the Shankaracharya, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said his views needed to be rejected as they were far from reality and the Indian Constitution. “Will he answer that all these years women were not allowed in the temple, so was there absolutely no problem for them,” she asked.

“How can he say that women going in the temple is going to lead to the destruction of women. All these years they were not there but many faced so many problems,” she said.
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