Ujjain: Reacting to the allegations of Arunima Sinha, the first female amputee to scale Mount Everest, that her disability was mocked at when she visited the Mahakal temple, the temple authorities said on Tuesday that a specific 'dress code' had to be followed to enter the sanctum sanctorum.
The temple authorities said that men had to be clad in 'dhotis' (shola), while women had to wear a saree to enter the sanctum sanctorum during the 'bhasma aarti', a unique practice observed at the temple in the early hours every day.
"According to the temple traditions, women wearing a saree and men in dhotis are allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum during the bhasma aarti in the morning," the temple's administrator, Avdhesh Sharma, said, as per PTI.
He added that Arunima had come to the temple at around 4.30 am on December 24, 2017, and was told about the tradition by the priests and security personnel there.
Sharma said generally, those not wearing a dhoti or a saree were allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum, but the entry was restricted during the 'bhasma aarti'.
He said entry to the sanctum sanctorum during the 'bhasma aarti' was only allowed through pre-booked slots and added that Sinha had reached the temple on a short notice.
The temple authorities also made public the CCTV footage, in which the security personnel were purportedly seen talking to the athlete.
Arunima had taken to Twitter to recount her experience and had tagged the handles of offices of Prime Minister and Madhya Pradesh CM. “I am very sorry to tell you that I felt greater pain in visiting Mahakal temple than scaling the Everest. My disability was mocked at there (at Mahakal),” her tweet read.
मुझे आपको ये बताते हुए बहुत दुःख है की मुझे Everest जाने में इतना दुःख नहीं हुआ जीतना मुझे महाकाल मंदिर उज्जैन में हुआ वहाँ मेरी दिव्यंगता का मज़ाक़ बना ।
— Arunima Sinha (@sinha_arunima) December 25, 2017
"The incident took place on December 24, 2017. Authorities at Ujjain's Mahakal Temple refused to let me enter the main shrine, saying I cannot enter in these clothes. I was dressed the way I am dressed right now, in a jacket and lowers," Sinha also told news agency ANI.
"I tried to explain, even showed them that one of my legs is artificial. But they said 'aap jaise bahut aate hain yahan' (there are many like you who come here). I saw a man exiting the shrine wearing jeans. If he can do that why can't I? I had tears in my eyes. Women's clothes shouldn't be made into an issue this way," Sinha added.
I tried to explain, ( at Ujjain's Mahakal Temple) even showed them that one of my leg is artificial but they said 'aap jaise bahut aate hain yahan'. I had tears in my eyes. Women's clothes shouldn't be made into an issue this way :Arunima Sinha, amputee who scaled Mount Everest pic.twitter.com/b4r8Q1ktsd
— ANI (@ANI) December 26, 2017
Responding to Arunima, MP Home Minister Bhupendra Singh tweeted, "You are the pride of India and you are welcome in Ujjain." He added that he had asked the district administration to inquire into the matter.
@sinha_arunima जी आपके साथ महाकाल मंदिर में हुए व्यवहार के बारे में जानकर अफसोस हुआ।जिला प्रशासन को पूरे घटनाक्रम की जाँच के निर्देश दे दिए गए हैं।मप्र सरकार दिव्यांगों के प्रति पूरी तरह संवेदनशील है।आप देश का गौरव हैं, भगवान महाकाल की नगरी उज्जैन में आपका स्वागत है। https://t.co/DQw2Z8wkgz
— Bhupendra Singh (@bhupendrasingho) December 25, 2017
Arunima was pushed out of a running train by robbers in April 2011, while she was resisting a robbery attempt. As a result, one of her legs had to be amputated below the knee. At the time of the attack, she was a national level volleyball player.
Her dream came of hoisting the Tricolour on top of Mount Everest came true on May 21, 2013, when after a 52-day climb she reached the top of the world.
(With Agency inputs)