Women’s agitation for temple entry a publicity stunt: Maninderjeet Singh Bitta

Shirdi: All India Anti-Terrorist Front chairman Maninderjeet Singh Bitta today termed as a “publicity stunt” the agitations launched by women organisations seeking entry into core areas of certain temples in Maharashtra.

“These agitations are a publicity stunt. They are trying to play with the feelings of the people,” he told PTI after a darshan of Saibaba.

He said the traditions founded by ancient sages are sacrosanct and it is wrong to violate them.

“However, I am not against any particular man or woman on this issue. Law is not bigger than ‘Bharat mata’. Our temples hold society together. I am unhappy over women’s agitation for the entry into garbha grih (sanctum sanctorum) of temples,” Bitta said.

“I enter temples wearing dhoti. At some places I have to remove my turban, but I follow the tradition at temples, which were created by sages.

“It is wrong to break these restrictions and forcibly enter the temples. I request government and courts to not interfere with traditions of the temples,” he said.

Bitta was referring to protests by women’s activists like Trupti Desai for entry to the sacred platform at Shani temple in Ahmednagar district and at core areas of Lord Shiva and Mahalaxmi temples at Trimbakeshwar and Kolhapur, respectively.

To a query, Bitta said he is happy with the anti-terrorism policy of Narendra Modi government.

“Presently, our jawans fire 100 bullets in retaliation to 1 bullet fired by Pakistan without waiting for orders. During the Congress rule, even if a jawan was beheaded a discussion was held on our side over lunch,” Bitta said.

The former Indian Youth Congress president said he had to pay the “political price” for defying the Congress leadership which he said had prevented him from speaking on the issues of terrorism or on Pakistan.

He said the Congress got debilitated due to “saffron terrorism” remarks made by its ministers.

“Senior Congress leaders P Chidambaram and Digvijay Singh hurt the Congress the most. Congress virtually sank because of them,” Bitta alleged.

He also praised Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.