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BJP MLA stirs controversy by visiting ashram where women are barred

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Press Trust of India Banda (UP)
A BJP MLA in Uttar Pradesh's Hamirpur district has triggered a row by visiting an ashram where locals claim women are barred from entering.
Manisha Anuragi, the MLA from Rath, visited the ashram located in Muskura Khurd village in her constituency on July 12. However, the issue came into the limelight after photographs of villagers cleaning the ashram premises following her visit went viral.
The BJP MLA denounced the move calling it an insult to women.
She had visited a government school to distribute uniforms and from there she went to the ashram and offered prayers.
After her visit, the villagers went on a "purification" drive of the ashram.
Village pradhan Omprakash Singh said the women are not allowed to visit the ashram of Dhumra rishi, a saint of the mythical Mahabharat era. He said her visit was followed by a "purification" of the ashram.
"For ages, women are not allowed to visit the ashram of Dhumra rishi, but Anuragi visited the ashram and offered prayers despite villagers telling her not to do so. The villagers then purified the entire ashram with water of the river Ganga, and also cleansed the idol of Dhumra rishi by taking it to Sangam in Allahabad," Singh said.
Reacting to the controversy, Anuragi said she was unaware that the women were not allowed to enter the ashram.
"But the cleaning of the premises using Ganga water after my visit, as is being said, is an insult to women. Women constitute half of the population, and they give birth to children and nourish them," Anuragi said.
"This type of thinking and mindset belongs to a few half-witted people," she added.
When contacted, Additional District Magistrate Kunj Bihari Agarwal said: "We have taken cognisance of the matter after it appeared in the media. A team of the local intelligence unit has been sent to the village to gather more details about the incident.

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First Published: Jul 31 2018 | 6:00 PM IST

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