Amid the ongoing protests at Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth on Saturday said people should not interfere in matters of temple traditions and rituals, while maintaining that women are equal to men in every sphere of life. “But when you talk about a temple, every temple has its time-honoured rituals, besides traditions being followed for a long time,” PTI reported him as saying. “My humble opinion is that no one should interfere in that.”
Since Wednesday, Kerala has witnessed protests outside the Sabarimala shrine when the temple opened to devotees for the first time since a Supreme Court verdict allowed entry to all women. Protestors have blocked women devotees, activists and journalists who have tried to enter the temple.
While the actor supported the Supreme Court’s judgement and said it should be respected, he said that people should exercise restraint and caution when it came to matters of religion.
Commenting on the #MeToo movement in India, Rajinikanth said it was beneficial for women while warning that “it should not be misused and should [be] used properly”. Since October 5, dozens of women, including journalists, have given detailed accounts on social media of the sexual harassment and misconduct they have experienced. Some of the men accused of sexual misconduct are journalist-turned-politician MJ Akbar, actor Alok Nath, film directors Vikas Bahl, Subhash Ghai and Sajid Khan, artist Jatin Das, and others.
Responding to allegations of sexual harassment against Tamil poet-lyricist Vairamuthu, Rajinikanth said he has denied the accusations, reported The News Minute. “Vairamuthu has denied them, saying such an incident has never occurred and that he has proof of the same,” he said. “He has also said women can file cases.”
Earlier, singer Chinmayi Sripaada endorsed the allegations of sexual harassment against Vairamuthu after several users on Twitter accused him of inappropriate conduct and sexual abuse. But the lyricist has refuted all allegations and said he has gathered “irrefutable evidence to show that all the accusations are false”.