Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, an Indian religious leader, raised the hackles of people in his city by stating that allowing women into temple in Maharashtra will lead to more rapes.
The temple he referred to is the Shani temple in India’s Maharashtra state.
"Women should not feel triumphant about visiting the sanctum sanctorum of Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra,” he said.
"They should stop all the drum beating about what they have done. Worshipping Shani will bring ill luck to them and give rise to crimes against them like rape," Swaroopanand added.
Maharashtra High Court recently lifted the 400-year-old ban on the entry of women into Shani Shingnapur temple.
Whereas many welcomed the step, a very unhappy Swaroopanand can’t state enough how horrible the repercussions will be.
Apart from the impending rape of women, he believes it is the following of the "unworthy" god-man Sai Baba of the Shani Temple that had brought drought in Maharashtra.
“Calamity strikes where those unworthy of worship are worshipped. Such places suffer drought, flood, death or fear. Maharashtra is facing all of these,” Swaroopanand said.
Sai Baba of Shirdi, also known as Shirdi Sai Baba, was an Indian spiritual master who is regarded by his devotees (both Hindus as well as Muslims) as a saint.
His statement has drawn anger and backlash from people of all walks of life.
Well done, Swamiji. You've given us a God to blame for a crime as awful as rape. What better than a divine scapegoat https://t.co/M52PkBt06q— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) April 11, 2016
Old age is a problem. You are talking rubbish against women and a Faqir.See Kapoor&Sons and talk porn,hash,love of family.Enjoy your climax!— Rishi Kapoor (@chintskap) April 11, 2016
https://t.co/TSXC360wUK Sonetimes I really wonder if Indian men hate women— Brian Lumley (@ChefLumley) April 12, 2016
Outrageous as the claim of women inciting rape by entering a particular place of worship may sound, it’s unfortunately not a rare occurrence. Rape, as heinous and serious as a crime can be, is taken very lightly by many people. India, a country that is devastated by a high rate of rape, is certainly no exception.
According to some people, rape can be "invited" by anything from wearing a skirt to venturing out alone at night. Why should going to a place of worship be any different?