Mumbai: Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam has taken a dig at actor-politician Hema Malini for suggesting that the widows from other states should not stay in Vrindavan, reports said on Friday.
Criticising the BJP MP, Nirupam said, “Hema Malini has been an outsider all her life but she wants widows from other states to stay out of Vrindavan.“
Hema Malini born in TN Finds fame in Mumbai LS MP from UP Outsider all her life,wants Widows from Non Mathura barred! pic.twitter.com/4uDSWxFAFT
— Sanjay nirupam (@sanjaynirupam) September 18, 2014
The remarks from the Congress politician came even as Hema Malini sought to defend her remarks that widows from West Bengal and Bihar should not crowd Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh.
Hema Malini said that she said this in the context of their deplorable condition in their respective states, alleging that they were being ignored in their home states and government there was not doing enough for them.
The 65-year-old BJP Lok Sabha MP also said she had not mentioned anything that she should be "ashamed of".
Hema Malini, during a visit to her parliamentary constituency Mathura, had stoked a potential controversy when she said that Vrindavan, a holy town which is home to thousands of destitute women, should not be crowded by widows from other states like West Bengal and Bihar.
She had said that there are already 40,000 widows in Vrindavan, which is part of her constituency, and there was no room to accommodate more. The actress today defended her previous statement in a series of tweets, saying no one listened to her "actual interview" to the media.
"I haven't said anything that I should be ashamed of. I stand by my statement that they should be allowed to live with dignity. Sad state for a country once known for the respect shown to women. This is what I was trying to point out," she tweeted.
"It is traumatic to see these poor widows begging on the streets even for their daily existence. Have all of you ever witnessed their plight? Of course I intend doing what I can to improve their condition but Vrindavan has a space limitation too. State govt too should contribute," she added.
The actress said she had done nothing wrong by saying that "sons & daughters cannot discard their duty and cannot bundle them onto a train & forget about them".
"For no fault of theirs, they are thrown on the streets & are compelled to beg to survive. Is this fair? Do you think these old women deserve this fate? Also most are from West Bengal, Bihar & Orissa. My request was to these people to have a more humane approach & look after these poor widows properly.
She said that awareness should be created in states from where the widows belonged to.
Pointing out that most of these women were "abandoned by family and put on trains to Vrindavan without any moneny", Hema Malini said most of them find jobs as maids or turn to begging.
"Younger ones are also exploited & then abandoned to their fate. Out of the 5000, only 1500 have a proper roof over their heads. The rest are on the streets, destitute and desperate. Of course, we are all Indians first and have a duty towards the old & infirm in our country."