Entry of women into Shani temple will lead to more rapes: Swami Swaroopanand

The Shankaracharya of Dwaraka-Sharda Peeth Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati made these comments two days after women were allowed to worship in the inner sanctum of the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district.

A Hindu religious leader on Monday stirred a controversy by saying that the entry of women in a temple in Maharashtra will lead to more rapes and other forms of violence against them, a media report said.

The Shankaracharya of Dwaraka-Sharda Peeth Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati made these comments two days after women were allowed to worship in the inner sanctum of the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district.

"Women entered Shani temple’s inner sanctum. The women are worshipping Shani in the temple. By doing so, Shani’s eyes would fall on women and this would result in increase of rape incidents," the 94-year-old seer was quoted as saying by The India Today.

Following a Bombay High Court order, the Shani Shingnapur temple trust last week broke a 400-year tradition and announced that both men and women will henceforth be allowed to enter the inner sanctum and offer their prayers.

The Swami also blamed the worship of Shirdi Sai Baba as the cause for drought in parts of Maharashtra. "Calamity strikes where those unworthy of worship are worshipped," the seer said. He added that "such places suffer drought, flood, death or fear, and Maharashtra is facing all of these".