After the organisers of a private function Thursday forced two journalists to vacate front row seats, saying “our culture does not allow women in close proximity to a religious head”, CM Devendra Fadnavis slammed the event managers and also reminded the gathering that “discrimination against women must be stopped”.
The incident happened when Shree Santacruz Jain Tapagachh Sangh organised the event at a hall behind the Swami Narayan Temple in Dadar East to felicitate Fadnavis for implementing a ban on cow slaughter.
Even as the front row was reserved for the media, the organisers told the journalists to vacate the seat. According to one of the journalists, a senior political correspondent with a Marathi news channel, the incident happened at around 9.25 am before the CM reached the venue.
“As soon as I took my seat, a middle-aged man requested me to sit three rows behind as the Guruji was expected. ‘Yeh yahaan ke niyam hai (this is the rule here)’ he told me,” the journalist said, adding, she was asked to sit among female devotees seated at the far end of the hall. The two journalists left the event in protest.
When the CM came to know about the incident, he said: “We are in the 21st century. All such practices that discriminate against women should be stopped. A society progresses only when the women get the due respect. All such practices should be stopped.”
However, Bachubhai Shah, one of the main organisers, said: “The woman journalists were asked to sit in the third row of the hall as our saints were going to pass by them and they strictly follow celibacy.”