Controversy

Hindu leader in India claims allowing women in temple would increase rapes

Indian devotees gather at The Shani Shingnapur Temple in Ahmednagar. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Shankaracharya Swaroopanand, a Hindu religious leader in India, has caused a controversy for suggesting that allowing women into the Shani Shingnapur temple would increase the number of rapes.  The temple, after nearly four centuries of admitting only men, opened to women two days ago after the Mumbai high court granted women the right to enter and pray in all temples last month. They ruled that women had a fundamental right to enter all temples in India, and would punish those who prevent them from gaining access with a 6-month jail sentence. “Women entered Shani temple’s inner sanctum,” the 94-year old religious leader said according to news agency ANI. “The women are worshipping Shani in the temple. By doing so, Shani’s eyes would fall on women and this would result in increase of rape incidents.”

Indian activists attempt to enter The Shani Shingnapur Temple in Ahmednagar on April 2, 2016.   (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Indian activists attempt to enter The Shani Shingnapur Temple in Ahmednagar on April 2, 2016.
(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

In the past, temple officials had argued that the ban was there to protect women from radiation emitted by Shani, which could cause deformities in a fetus in case a woman was pregnant.  Swaroopanand’s comments provoked a storm of criticism in social media, with many ridiculing his remarks, although a few others endorsed his remarks.

Read the full story at the BBC.

Related:

Top Indian official calls for end of exclusion of women from temples

400 Indian women plan to defy temple-entry ban

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