West Bengal’s Belur Math Denies Entry To Wheelchair-Bound Girl
An iconic West Bengal shrine has denied entry to a 43-year-old man and his wheelchair-bound daughter.
Saikat Barman and his daughter had gone to visit the Belur Math, which was founded by Swami Vivekananda, for a holiday. The security guards told them that they could not enter because the girl was in a wheelchair.
Barman wrote about his heartbreaking experience in a note on Facebook. The temple did not let her enter because she was in a wheelchair, he said.
“Despite repeated requests, pleading with monks, volunteers and security guard and several journeys up and down the stairs lifting the wheelchair to gain access to the temple, my daughter was told that the rules in Belur Math do not allow wheelchairs to be taken inside the temple,” he wrote.
He said that the incident had greatly humiliated and embarrassed his daughter. She had tears in her eyes, and it was the biggest embarrassment of her life so far, he says.
He said that he did not know how to console her.
A monk at the temple said that wheelchairs travel on road and are dirty. The monk said that they will be detrimental to the sanctity of the temple.
Barman said that it is ironic that The Ramakrishna Mission, which is a charitable organisation, runs the temple.
“I am re-thinking now, do I want to be part of an organisation where respect towards humanity is at such a low-level?” – Saikat Barman
The man lives in London and has written to the Secretary of Belur Math about the incident. The Facebook post has gone viral, and he hopes that it will spread awareness.
“Time has come to review these draconian rules to make our society truly welcoming, receptive and accommodating to all,” he wrote.
There are too many incidents of women being denied entry into temples. Last month, a temple denied entry to a group of Dalit girls, and this month a temple in Chandigarh denied women entry into the Kansal temple. Though the Supreme Court has said that temples must allow women entry, many do not let women inside.
We need to give women the right to pray.
Picture Credit: Wikipedia