Dwarka - Sharda Peeth Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati has made a controversial statement on the entry of women in Shani Shingnapur Temple in Maharashtra yet again .

 

According to the 94-year-old seer, women entering the inner sanctum of the temple will only lead to an increase in rapes and that they have brought bad luck upon themselves.

 

 

“Shani is a planet of sins. Worshipping him will lead to a rise in crime against women," he added. Women activists and Twitterati have criticised the seer over his insensitive remarks; a few of them took to twitter to criticise the religious leader.

 

 

 

 

Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati has also held the worship of the "unworthy" Shirdi Sai Baba by his followers responsible for a drought-like situation in Maharashtra.

 

 

 

"Women should not feel triumphant about visiting the sanctum sanctorum of Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra. They should stop 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," he told reporters in Haridwar yesterday.

 

 

A 400-year-old ban on entry of women into the shrine's core area was lifted by the temple trust last week following advocacy group Bhoomata Brigade's agitation against gender
bias and the Bombay High Court order upholding the equal rights to worship.

 

Noting that worshipping shani is not good for women, Swaroopanand said instead of exulting over visiting the sanctum sanctorum of Shani Shinganapur temple, they should have done something about stopping men from consuming intoxicating substances under whose influence they commit crimes against them like rape.

 

Swaroopanand, who is the Shankaracharya of the Dwarka-Sharda peeth, is on a fortnight long visit to Haridwar.

 

Criticising his statement, CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat said his views need to be rejected as they are far removed from reality and the Indian Constitution. "Will the Shankacharya answer that all these years women were not allowed into the temple so was there absolutely no
problem that women faced," she asked.
    

 

"How can he say that women going to the temple are going to lead to their destruction? So all these years, women were not facing any problems. Women have faced so many problems and issues," she adds.

 

Karat opines that the "thinking itself is far removed from reality, from India's Constitution, from people of India's experience, that just has to be rejected".
    

Not a stranger to controversies, Swaroopanand also held the prevailing practice of worshipping Sai Baba in the temples of Maharashtra responsible for the drought in the state.
"Sai Baba has been installed in the temples of Maharashtra and deities like Ganesh and Hanuman have been placed at his feet. When those not meant to be worshipped are
worshipped in temples, disasters like droughts are bound to happen," he held.