Mathura: Bharatiya Janata Party’s Lok Sabha member from Mathura-Vrindavan, cine star Hema Malini has questioned the presence of widows from Bihar and West Bengal in Vrindavan.
Image source: tamil.haihoi.com
After finding poor living conditions in a shelter home in Vrindavan which she visited Monday evening, Hema Malini had said that she would talk to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the issue.
Around 2,000 widows live in half-a-dozen ashrams and shelter homes in Vrindavan. Three of these shelters are managed by Sulabh International.
The parliamentarian has found support among the local people on this issue.
“Hema Malini has echoed the local sentiment by raising the issue and asking state governments in Bihar and West Bengal to provide facilities for them in their respective states,” Jagan Nath Poddar, convener of Friends of Vrindavan told IANS.
Most residents of this holy town see no rationale behind their permanent settlement in Vrindavan. Rasik Bihari, a shopkeeper said: “These state governments should keep them there and provide them basic necessities. Most are now getting pensions. So why do they come here.”
Another activist Girdhari said: “There are numerous fake widows too, and many are suspected to be Bangladeshis.”
Sanjeev Gautam, a senior media-person of Mathura told IANS: “Hema Malini is right, though one could have differences with her style of presenting arguments.”
“For decades, West Bengal has had progressive governments. They should have provided facilities for rehabilitation of these hapless women. Why should they come all the way to Vrindavan and beg for alms, bringing a bad name to this holy town… It is high time these widows returned to their own states,” said a local priest Radhey Shyam.
A Sulabh International official said: “we have nothing to do with this controversy. We are providing relief and facilities on instructions of the Supreme Court. Whether they stay here or go back, it is none of our concern. But we will continue to do our bit as long as they are here.”