Mathura: Actor-turned-politician Hema Malini is facing criticism for her recent comments on the widows living in Vrindavan.
The newly-elected BJP MP had recently questioned the presence of widows from Bihar and West Bengal in Vrindavan during a visit to a shelter home there.
Deploring the pathetic condition in which the widows were living in the shelter home, the Bollywood star said that she would talk to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the issue.
Interestingly, the locals have supported the BJP leader on her views on Vrinadavan widows.
Most residents of this holy town see no rationale behind their permanent settlement in Vrindavan. Rasik Bihari, a shopkeeper said: "These state governments should keep them there and provide them basic necessities. Most are now getting pensions. So why do they come here."
Reacting to Hema Malini's comments Congress leader Shobha Oza said it is unfortunate and accused the BJP of trying to divide the society.
A Sulabh International official said: "we have nothing to do with this controversy. We are providing relief and facilities on instructions of the Supreme Court. Whether they stay here or go back, it is none of our concern. But we will continue to do our bit as long as they are here."
Much stigma traditionally attaches to the widow in India, who is considered an ill omen and not allowed to be present at auspicious occasions.
Traditionally, widows have been denied ornaments and colourful sarees. They are also forbidden non-vegetarian food, garlic and onions.
Many of women at the shelter homes in Vrindavan are old and infirm, and considered burdens by families, many of whom have abandoned them.
(With Agency inputs)