MANGALORE: Former Union minister B Janardhan Poojary has invited over 5,000 widows to participate in the Diwali celebrations at Gokarnanatheshwara Temple in Kudroli on Wednesday.
“Due to the prevailing social customs, there is a general aversion towards widows,” Poojary told reporters at the Kudroli Temple hall on Saturday.
“The temple has always encouraged widows, even those from the dalit community, to offer puja. This time, over 5,000 widows will be allowed to join in the Lakshmi puja and pull the silver chariot of Lakshmi and Vishnu,” he said. Other women will also be allowed to participate in the rituals and those keen on doing so must register their names with the temple.
“All participants will receive a saree, blouse, kumkum, jasmine flowers and a one rupee coin,” Poojary said. He said ignoring widows because of blind beliefs would no longer be tolerated. Poojary expressed his displeasure over the demand to legalise prostitution.
The government should take care of prostitutes who are forced into flesh trade. “It is foolish to assume that the number of rape cases will drop if prostitution is legalised,” he said.