New Delhi, April 11: Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati has stoked fresh controversy. He has said that if women will be allowed to enter Shani Shingnapur temple, it will lead to crimes such as rapes against them.
The statement has been given, days after the Shani temple trust in Maharashtra lifted ban and allowed women to enter the inner sanctum of the temple.
Swami was quoted as saying, "If they worship Saturn (Shani), the incidents of rape will increase. They should have prayed that the people who indulge in alcoholism must not violate women. What will shani do for them?"
Shankaracharya also held Sai Baba responsible for the present drought-like situation in Maharashtra.
"Sai is not worthy of worshipping. People are putting the idols of Hanuman and Ganesh on the legs of Sai and this is happening extensively in Maharashtra. Wherever these kinds of things take place, such calamities take place," Swaroopanand Saraswati was quoted by ANI.
On April 8, the temple trust had lifted the ban following Bhoomata Brigade's agitation against gender bias and the Bombay High Court order upholding the equal rights to worship.
The chief trustee of the temple Anita Shete said the trustees had taken the decision to uphold the high court directive and accordingly all devotees -- men and women -- would now have free access to the inner sanctum.
Soon after the temple trust announced the decision, some women devotees entered the sacred area and offered worship.
Later, Bhoomata Brigade leader Trupti Desai, who had led a sustained campaign over the issue, reached the temple located in western Maharashtra and offered prayers.
(With inputs from PTI)