Shirdi (Maharashtra) [India], December 4 (ANI): After Shri Saibaba Sansthan Temple Trust in Shirdi put up a notice appealing to devotees to dress in "civilized clothes" as per "Indian culture", women rights activist Trupti Desai on Friday called it an infringement of the constitutional right to freedom of expression.
She threatened if it was not removed, she and other activists would remove it at 1 pm on December 10.
The Shirdi trust, however, clarified that this was not a dress code but merely a request.
Desai has also sent a complaint to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray regarding the notice that read, "You are entering into holy shrine of Shri Saibaba, hence to observe the holy spirit, humble request to wear civilised costumes or as per Indian Culture."
"The sign that has been put up by the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust is wrong and is an attempt to take away the constitutional right to express oneself. We have sent a complaint to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray demanding that the institution be investigated," she said in a self-made video message, adding that the devotees knew very well how to maintain the purity of a temple.
Bagate said some news channels have reported that a dress code has been issued for devotees. "This is incorrect. We had received complaints from a few people that some were dressing inappropriately. I appeal to the people to dress properly with a pure heart when coming to the temple for darshan, and it will be greatly appreciated if they wear Indian attire," Bagate said.
Sachin Tambe, a former trustee of the Shirdi temple, and Rural Development minister Hasan Mushrif also backed the temple's request, saying that that it was the collective responsibility of the devotees to maintain the sanctity of the temple.
"It is not a forceful order; it is an optional appeal. While we do believe that everyone has the right to live their life as per their choice, wearing a traditional dress to the temple is good. We have even received letters from people appreciating the move," Mushrif said.
Local people welcomed the suggestion and said that people should come to the temple with a pure heart and mind, and be properly clothed in Indian attire.
"Some people come to the temple in short clothes, which is not good and can be distracting. When people wear proper clothes, we can pray and worship with a pure heart'; so it will be good if our sisters come completely covered. People can wear whatever they want at their homes and in their communities, but a temple is a holy place," said a local visitor.
"We are Indian people; so we should wear Indian clothes," said another. (ANI)