While most politicians have stayed away from courting controversy and have remained mum on the Sabarimala issue, Union minister Smriti Irani stirred up a storm on Tuesday after she said, “I have right to pray, but not right to desecrate. I am nobody to speak on SC verdict as I’m serving cabinet minister. Would you take sanitary napkins soaked in menstrual blood into a friend’s home? So, why would you take them into the house of God.”
What followed was a barrage of hate tweets directed at Irani because, let’s face it, BJP leaders’ remarks in the past have rarely earned them the merit of the benefit of the doubt.
Shameful comment by Smriti Irani. Is menstruating woman only a sanitary pad 4 this lady? When she has periods, doesn’t she go out of her house? Doesn’t go 2 her friend’s place? Without periods, can there be babies? Horrible words reinforcing patriarchy & misogyny by a Minister! https://t.co/3HYAE1Azul
— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) October 23, 2018
Aren’t CARRYING & WEARING two different things? @smritiirani Do you think twice entering your friend’s house while wearing a sanitary napkin which would obviously be blood-soaked because you bleed during menstruation? Where’s logic in your statement? #Sabarimala #smritiirani https://t.co/PNBKESCHT3
— Chhavi Tyagi (@chhavi_tyagi1) October 23, 2018
I think @smritiirani means we shd also ban all the ladies with blood soaked sanitary napkin from entering our home! Ekkks what a dirty thought! I did not know that God checks woman’s sanitary napkin when she goes to temple! @rashtrapatibhvn @PMOIndia @IndiaToday @BJP4India
— ConsumersVoice (@ConsumerVoiceX) October 23, 2018
Women today are working, competing in sports, participating in all rigours of life, and yes they even happen to go their friends’ houses, all with a blood soaked sanitary napkin. @smritiirani chooses to shame her kind in typical partriarchical language and mindset of her party. https://t.co/5xhJ4EPvJG
— All India Mahila Congress (@MahilaCongress) October 23, 2018
@smritiirani shame on you Ms. Irani…..you can enter a temple carrying a body full of blood and shit and urine…..what is wrong in entering it wearing a sanitary napkin soaked in blood…..Shame on you…shame shame…..Resign
— ankur chandra (@ankurchandra123) October 23, 2018
However, we must give Irani’s statement some context. She was referring to rumours of an activist, who wanted to carry a blood-soaked sanitary napkin into Sabarimala and a few people on Twitter even pointed that out.
Minister Smriti Irani on Sabarimala: Would You Take Sanitary Napkins Soaked in Menstrual Blood Into a Friend’s Home?
Her remarks came in the light of an activist who intended to take a Blood-Soaked Sanitary Napkin into #SabarimalaTemple.
https://t.co/7KMVcJtjJr via @thewire_in pic.twitter.com/OIsBXhqHBW
— Swachh Politics (@SwachhPolitics) October 23, 2018
Halt, don’t spread lies or half-truths which is same as lies. Don’t quote out of context. Smriti Irani has said that while everyone has “the right to pray, but not to desecrate.”That woman activist Rehana was caught with a soiled sanitary napkin in the offerings she carried.
— Kirti Pandey (@KirtiPandey) October 23, 2018
DONOT JUMP TO CONCLUSION #SMRITIIRANI WAS TALKING OF #RehanaFathima DELIBERATELY CARRYING BLOOD STAINED SANITARY NAPKIN TO THROW AT #AYYAPPA AT #SABARIMALA SHE CONFESSED TO #MEDIA AND HER FB POST TESTIFY ITS #BLASPHEMY BOOKED UNDER 295A
— RAJAN (@eccentricraj) October 23, 2018
Activist Rehana Fathima, one of the first few women who almost reached the top at Sabarimala temple, allegedly wanted to carry a used sanitary napkin. Twitter users claim that her real intentions were to throw the used sanitary napkin at the deity or somewhere inside the temple.
Fathima told The Quint, “People were using my Muslim name and tactics like spreading the idea that I was there to create trouble, that I carried sanitary napkins – all to misguide people. When people are already questioning if I am a devotee or not, planting this idea that I was a lady who had gone there to only create trouble, would aggravate them.”
Last week, protestors in Kerala stopped buses going to Sabarimala to check whether women were on it. Several women journalists were also stopped and attacked from going towards the temple.