Activists welcome SC ruling

Prajakta Joshi
Saturday, 29 September 2018

‘Devotion cannot be subjected to discrimination’

Pune: Calling it not the ultimate goal but a step towards gender equality, city activists working for women’s rights have welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict to allow women of all ages at Kerala’s renowned Sabarimala temple, stating that devotion cannot be subjected to discrimination. 

“The Constitution of India states that no person can be discriminated on the basis of gender and the Supreme Court (SC) verdict has reiterated this. I am glad to say that even before this verdict, through a different law, we have opened the doors of Shani-Shinganapur temple to the women in the state,” Mukta Dabholkar said. 

When asked whether such a verdict promotes the tokenism of women’s rights movement taking it away from its actual objectives or is necessary to bring about a total state of gender equality, Dabholkar said, “This landmark judgement could be compared to the Kalaram Mandir Satyagraha by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Here, entry into the temple is not the ultimate goal of the movement, but a part of it. It all comes down to if a woman finds entry into the temple important, it should be available to her.” 

Women’s rights activist Kiran Moghe said the right to worship is a constitutional right and it was denied to a certain section of women. 

“Religion is a personal issue. Any woman who is a believer should not be denied her right to go to a particular temple and worship. Hence, this verdict does not represent a trivial matter, it is important,” she added.
 
Pravin Nikam, gender rights activist said that discrimination because of menstruation is very unfortunate, and was started to establish power relations between men and women. 

He said, “The practice of barring women in age group 10 to 50 to go inside temple violated the constitutional principles. I welcome the verdict as it strengthens the concept of gender equality. Patriarchal rules have to change. Menstruation is as natural as breathing and there can be no discrimination on the basis of gender. Women are equally entitled to worship.”
 
Although finding the message a welcome one, giving the message for promoting rational thinking, Lakshmi Narayan of KKPKP said, “While it’s a good decision as it propagates women’s rights, I believe we have to be careful of what we are promoting as well. As a society, I believe that we have to move towards becoming a rational and in turn an atheist society.”

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