Bharatiya Janata Party MP Udit Raj on Wednesday said he is happy that two women of menstruating age were able to enter the Sabarimala temple and pray there. The two women, Bindu and Kanakadurga, both in their 40s, visited the shrine under police protection.
The BJP has opposed the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 into the shrine. On Wednesday, Kerala BJP President PS Sreedharan Pillai claimed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is a “modern-day Aurangzeb who wants to destroy Hindu temples”. He claimed the way the women were taken to the temple “smacked of an planned, organised conspiracy”.
Udit Raj is the first BJP legislator so far to support the entry of women to the temple.
“In my personal capacity, as the national chairperson of the SC/ST Parisangh, I am very happy that they have succeeded,” Raj told News18 outside Parliament in New Delhi when asked his views on the entry of women into Sabarimala. “In the age of law and constitution, both the genders are equal. This is a matter of equality of gender.” Raj is the head of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations.
Raj also rejected the argument that women of menstruating age are impure. “Men are born from the wombs of women, so shouldn’t men too be considered impure, how can women be considered impure?” he told The Hindu.
Raj said that traditions evolve over time, pointing out that customs like sati and child marriage were legal in the country at one time, but had now ended. The BJP MP said that the common belief is that God is all-pervasive. “When that is the case how can entry into places of worship be restricted?” he asked.
There were massive protests on Wednesday after the two women entered the temple. The temple also shut briefly for “purification rituals”. The BJP, Congress and other outfits in Kerala have called a shutdown over the matter, while one person has died in the protests so far.