ANI please get your facts right and stop insulting our Intelligence!

via http://media-critics.blogspot.com/2011/04/ani-please-get-your-facts-right-and.html published on April 19, 2011

This entry into Media Hall of SHAME is about a shocking half baked and ill-informed report in Indian Express.

Indian Express in its report Kottyam locals bar women from temple seems to be arguing for “Temple rules should be same”!

The reports starts with

    Kottayam Local oppose entry of entry of women into mahalakshi Temple. Expressing displeasure over permission granted to women in Maharashtra to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Sri Mahalakshmi temple, residents of Kerala’s Kottayam town said such the practice is a violation of traditional customs.

Author is at wits end to understand why would a reporter of ANI travel all the way to Kottayam district of kerala to get a reaction on permission granted to women in Maharashtra to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Sri Mahalakshmi temple! It seems that the reporter is talking about Sabarimala Temple in Kerala but it is located in Pathanamthitta district in Kerala.

Then the reporter asks the view of a person whom they described as “local”. According to the Suresh, the local who surprisingly speaks in Tamil!

    ‘I think women should not be allowed inside the Sabarimala temple. I mean, from age 10 till 50, they should not be allowed. I am not saying that women should be completely prohibited in the temple. The temple has certain rules and regulations. One should follow that,’ said Suresh, a local.

Media Watch think the reporter needs a crash course on India as to the best of Authors knowledge local language in Kottayam is Malayalam!

Then ANI interviews “another Local” who also speaks in Tamil

    Shockingly, some locals maintained that permitting women to pray inside the shrines would make them ‘impure’. ‘When women come to the temple, the purity of the temple would be lost. So, to maintain the tradition of the temple, only women are not permitted inside it,’ said Nirmal Kumar, a local.

If you watch the video carefully the person is not saying “permitting women to pray inside the shrines would make them ‘impure’” he is very clearly indicating that when women during menstruation should not be allowed in temple. It is a well accepted and followed tradiution in Kerala that Women during menstruation donot enter temple or take part in any religious function.

Then Reporter goes on to make an outrageous claim that

    several temples in India traditionally Ban or restrict women or lower caste people dalits. For years now several now several activists have been protesting against perceived gender bias practiced in many Hindu separate Hindu establishments across India stressing on urgent need of reforms to make religious sites more inclusive for devotees  

It is shocking that a National newspaper like Indian Express would carry a news article with such glaring mistakes (not sure if its intentional)

1. Sabarimala Temple is not in Kottayam but in Pathanamthitta district  of Kerala.

2. Majority of keralites speak Malayalam. One could have understood local speaking tamil in districts of Palakkad or Tiruvandapuram as it borders TamilNadu. But Kottayam is Kerala Heartland! One would hardly find a local there who can speak Tamil such fluently!

3. In the second interview it seems interviewer has deliberately misreported what interviewee was saying! One could not help reporting it as deliberate mischief!

4. Lastly, One can understand and appreciate Interviewesr zeal to have more “inclusive” temples. Perhaps it would come as a shock to her that there are temples and functions in Kerala where Men are not allowed. One such function is Attukal Pongala. More than three million women gather during this ceremony to offer pongala to Attukal Amma the Hindu goddess making it the largest gathering of women on earth and no men are allowed here!

5. Also, one would have appreciated if Reporter has not generalised by saying “several temples in India traditionally Ban or restrict women or lower caste people Dalits”. It is more of an exception than norm! 

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