Controversy over woman CEO holding ‘Danda’ at Banashankari temple fair

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BENGALURU: A controversy has broken out over the woman CEO of the famous Banashankari temple in the city, holding the Danda (stick) during the annual fair after dharmik parishat member Venkatesh Murthy objected to it saying that women are not allowed to hold the danda.

He also circulated a photo of temple committee CEO Padma on social media with her face marked out. Angered by this, she has now approached the Women’s Commission for allgedly insulting her. Both parties have also filed cases against each other at the police station.

Banashankar temple CEO Padma holding the silver ‘Danda’ during annual fair; (right) the marked photo that was circulated.

Venkatesh claimed that Padma’s husband shouted at him in abusive language and has lodged a complaint with the police. But the CEO has denied the allegations against her husband and insisted that he did not use abusive words. “Venkatesh is targeting me personally. Other women have also hold the ‘Danda’ in the past”, she claimed.

However, Venkatesh said, “It is a belief that women should not hold the Danda, and it is not allowed in Hindu customs. I have never seen such a ritual where a woman is holding the Danda. I have sought RTI replies from the authorities concerned”.

He also claimed CEO Padma’s husband interferes in all her official works. “He is handling everything, and she is just signing approvals. I have no intention to defame or undermine her role. The temple system should be changed first. I am not targeting anyone, but whenever I seen any wrong at the temple, I have raised questions”, Venkatesh added.

On her part, Padma explained, “There is a ritual in the temple where the Danda is handed over to the priest before the annual fair and it has been conducted over the several years. Earlier too, several women have held the Danda and I am not the first woman. The danda is taken out during the start of the temple fair and kept in the deity’s chariot after the idol is placed. No one questionedd me when I performed that ritual. If at all there was any mistake on my part, Venkatesh Murthy could have ask me that day itself”, she added.

“A week after the jatra, our staff got photos on Whatsapp which had forwarded to many people. Someone has marked me out in the photograph and it is an insult to me. I showed it to my husband and then he shouted at Venkatesh. I have approached the Women’s Commission as he is frequently interrupting may work and moreover, has insulted me”, Padma added.

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