‘Would You Carry Napkin Soaked in Menstrual Blood to Friend’s House?’ Smriti Irani on Sabarimala
Speaking at a conference, Union minister Smriti Irani said the right to pray does not mean the right to desecrate.
"I am nobody to speak against the Supreme Court verdict as I am a serving cabinet minister. But just plain common sense is that would you carry a napkin seeped with menstrual blood and walk into a friend's house? You would not. And would you think it is respectful to do the same when you walk into the house of god? That is the difference. I have the right to pray, but no right to desecrate. That is the difference that we need to recognise and respect," Irani said.
The Union textiles minister was speaking at the "Young Thinkers" conference organised by the British High Commission and the Observer Research Foundation in the capital.
She shared an incident when she had to wait outside a fire temple in Mumbai, with her son inside.
"I am a practising Hindu married to a Zoroastrian. I have ensured that both my kids are practising Zoroastrians, who can go to the fire temple and pray," she said.
"When I took my newborn son (to the fire temple), I would give him at the (temple) entrance to my husband and wait outside, because I was shooed away and told not to stand there," she added.
The comments were seen in the context of reports that an activist trying to enter the Sabarimala temple last week had carried used sanitary pads. The activist had emphatically denied it.
On September 28, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, lifted the ban on entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine.
But women have been stopped by Ayyappa devotees from climbing up to the Sabarimala temple as protests against the Supreme Court order opening the hilltop shrine to women of all ages continued across Kerala.
After facing severe backlash, she defended her comments saying that people were jumping the gun and no one really takes a blood soaked napkin to ‘offer’ to any one let alone a friend.
Since many people are talking about my comments — let me comment on my comment.— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) October 23, 2018
As a practising Hindu married to a practising Zoroastrian I am not allowed to enter a fire temple to pray.
I respect that stand by the Zoroastrian community / priests and do not approach any court for a right to pray as a mother of 2 Zoroastrian children. Similarly Parsi or non Parsi menstruating women irrespective of age DO NOT go to a Fire Temple.— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) October 23, 2018
These are 2 factual statements. Rest of the propaganda / agenda being launched using me as bait is well just that ... bait.— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) October 23, 2018
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 any one let alone a friend.— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) October 23, 2018
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