Condemning the statement of Arunagirinathar, the 292nd pontiff of Madurai Adheenam, that the dress women wore was the reason for sexual harassment, around 200 members of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) laid a siege to the mutt demanding legal action against him by the government.
The protestors raised slogans against Arunagirinathar demanding an apology for making what they called “insulting” statements against women.
The pontiff, however, stuck to his stand. “Women wearing revealing clothes is one of the most important reasons for sexual harassment,” he reiterated. “Some people have misunderstood the statement made in Thanjavur. We should prevent sexual harassment of women and those who indulge in sexual harassment should be punished severally,” he said.
The members of AIDWA and DYFI attempted to enter the Madurai Adheenam but were prevented by police personnel.
AIDWA Madurai Urban district secretary Ponnuthayi said that Arunagirinathar should apologise for such derogatory statement against women failing which the organisation would continue the protests across the state.
Earlier, stating that the Adheenam had a historic link with women ever since its inception, Arunagirinathar said that the mutt always supported women. “Women should help spread Tamil culture,” he added.
Recalling the history of the mutt, the pontiff said that Thirugnana Sambandar founded the Adheenam with the patronage of Pandian queen Mangayarkarasi. “Even the mutt was started with the support of Mangayarkarasi to spread Saiva Sidhantham, Tamil language and nationalism and to protect women. We always respect women,” he maintained.