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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Mahakal temple admin defends employees who prevented amputee mountaineer from entering sanctum sanctorum

india Updated: Dec 26, 2017 23:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Arunima Sinha had become the first amputee to scale Mount Everest in 2013 at the age of 25.
Arunima Sinha had become the first amputee to scale Mount Everest in 2013 at the age of 25.(Photo: Twitter)

A top official of the Mahakal temple on Sunday defended employees who denied differently abled mountaineer Arunima Sinha entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the religious institution, stating that they had done the “right thing” by stopping her.

Temple administrator Avdhesh Sharma said that while the employees never intended to offend Sinha, the first amputee to scale the Mount Everest, she could not be permitted to enter the garbha griha in a track suit.

“It is a centuries-old tradition at the Mahakal temple that after the bhasma aarti, when the garbha griha is closed for the general public, only those wearing clothes that are not stitched (like dhotis and saris) would be allowed inside. Arunima was wearing a track suit. Had the employees allowed her inside in those clothes, we would have been forced to take action against them,” said Sharma.

Sharma claimed the temple administration was not informed about Arunima’s visit. “We usually provide the requisite clothes to VIPs who want to visit the garbha griha when it is closed to others. No arrangements were made in this case because we did not know she was coming. State minister Archana Chitnis sent a message to the police chowki, stating that Arunima wanted to view the bhasma aarti. So, police escorted her to the Nandi hall, from where people view the ritual. Nobody informed us that she wanted to enter the garbha griha,” the temple administrator clarified.

Sinha had told the Hindustan Times over the phone that the temple employees behaved rudely with her outside the garbha griha. “Please see the video footage. They refused to let me in even though I pleaded that I was disabled. I broke down when they repeatedly denied permission in harsh tones, and my dignity was hurt,” she said.

Questioning the logic behind such age-old rules about clothes, she asked: “In which Shastra is it said that only those wearing unstitched clothes can entry the garbha griha? And all this could have been said politely.”

Sinha said both Sharma and Chitnis have apologised to her, and asked her to visit the temple again.

A national-level volleyball player, Sinha was pushed out of a running train while resisting a robbery attempt in April 2011. One of her legs had to be amputated below the knee.

First Published: Dec 26, 2017 23:40 IST