VELLORE: There was tension on Thursday after a group of people resorted to a hunger protest after Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) officials removed a thatched tent put up inside the Arulmighu Gangaiamman Thirukoil in Gudiyattam ahead of the Sirasu festival on May 14. The officials cited safety reasons for the removal of the tent.
Recalling the recent tragic incident during the Arulmighu Balasarduleswarar Thirukoil car procession, in which five devotees were electrocuted and 50 others injured when the car came into contact with a high tension wire, officials said that they removed the thatched covers inside the temple on Wednesday evening since they constituted a fire hazard.
However, some villagers condemned the act and staged a hunger protest demanding that the thatched covers, which were meant to protect the temple chariot from the sun, be restored. Around 150 persons, including 50 women, took part in the protest, which began at about 8 am.
Parandhama Kannan, executive officer (EO) of HR&CE for Gangaiamman Koil said that the thatched covers had been removed to ensure the safety of devotees.
“A thatched covering isn’t safe and hence we decided to replace it with tin sheets. Without understanding our intention, some of the locals resorted to the protest,” said the EO.
He added that after hearing him out the protestors withdrew the agitation at around 12 noon.