Union Minister Smriti Irani, who appeared to support the ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the Sabarimala temple, has defended her ‘blood-soaked’ sanitary pad remarks.
Earlier, speaking at the Young Thinkers' Conference in Mumbai, Irani commented on the row over women entry into the famous Kerala shrine and said that everyone has the right to pray but not to desecrate.
“I believe I have the right to pray but I don't have the right to desecrate,” the controversial minister said amid the raging debate over the Sabarimala temple issue.
“…. just plain common sense. Would you take sanitary napkins steeped in menstrual blood and walk into a friend's home? You could not. And would you think it is respectable to do the same thing when you are walking into the house of God?” she said.
Irani’s comments were perceived to be supporting the restrictions on menstruating women’s entry into the shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala and slammed by Twitterati.
The minister, however, defended her remarks and claimed that she was being used as a bait. The minister complained that as a woman she was not free to have her own point of view.
“As a practising Hindu married to a practising Zoroastrian I am not allowed to enter a fire temple to pray. Parsi or non-Parsi menstruating women irrespective of age do not go to a Fire Temple. I respect that stand of the Zoroastrian community,” ANI quoted the minister as saying.
“These are 2 factual statements. Rest of the propaganda/agenda being launched using me as bait is well just that ... bait. As far as those who jump the gun regarding women visiting friend’s place with a sanitary napkin dipped in menstrual blood — I am yet to find a person who ‘takes’ a blood-soaked napkin to ‘offer’ to anyone let alone a friend,” she said.
Last month, the Supreme Court had removed the centuries-old ban on women of menstruating age, or between 10 and 50 years, entering the Sabarimala Temple. The verdict was opposed by a section of men and women who resorted to violent protests outside the temple and stalled the entry of menstruating women.