Row over Smriti Irani’s sanitary napkin remark on Sabarimala

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New Delhi: Everyone has the right to pray but not to desecrate, Union minister Smriti Irani on October 23 said over reports that a woman activist had taken a bloody sanitary napkin as offering to the hilltop shrine in Kerala’s Sabarimala.
“I believe I have the right to pray but I don’t have the right to desecrate… And that is the difference we need to recognize and respect … I am nobody to speak on the Supreme Court verdict because I am a current serving cabinet minister,” Irani said during an event in Mumbai.
“But just plain common sense. Would you take sanitary napkins steeped in menstrual blood and walk into a friend’s home? You would not. And would you think that is it respectful to do the same when you walk into the house of god? So that is the difference. I have a right to pray but I don’t have the right to desecrate that is my personal opinion,” the 42-year-old minister said.
Irani’s comments, perceived by some to be supporting restrictions on menstruating women, were slammed on Twitter.
“Fake news …… calling you out on it. Will post my video soon,” she tweeted.
The Supreme Court had in September lifted the ban that prevented women of menstruating age from entering the 800-year-old Sabarimala temple in a 4-1 majority verdict, saying divinity and devotion cannot be subject to the rigidity and stereotypes of gender.
The court said the exclusion on the basis of biological and physiological features was unconstitutional and discriminatory because it denied women the right to be treated as equals.
However, no woman was able to enter the shrine amid protests by devotees, the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and various Hindu organizations.

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