MADURAI: As many as 50 members of the Madurai Aadheenam Retrieval Committee were arrested by the Madurai police on Sunday when they attempted to stage a procession to the Aadheenam premises to worship Tirugnana Sambandar. Earlier, they staged a demonstration at North Maasi Street junction, demanding that the government intervene in the ongoing imbroglio in the mutt. They also wanted controversial godman Nithyananda to be removed from the post of junior pontiff of the mutt.
The agitation was led by the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee’s (TNCC) former secretary, Nellai Kannan.
The arrested include Hindu Makkal Katchi state president Arjun Sampath and Muruganji of the Bharatiya Forward Bloc.
In a related development, a shoe that was hurled at a group from the Bharat Sena, who were protesting outside the mutt, reportedly hit a policemen posted at the venue. When the police proceeded to arrest the person who hurled the shoe, the inmates of the mutt reportedly resisted the attempt. An inquiry was on.
Earlier in the morning, the retrieval committee held a consultative conference at the Dharumapura Aadheena Tirumana Mandapam on North Maasi Street. Speaking to reporters on the resolutions passed, Nellai Kannan said the conference demanded that Nithyananda be “sent out of the Madurai Aadheenam.” Another resolution requested the State government to extend cooperation in the efforts to “save Saivism.”
The conference also demanded that the government allow the committee members inside the Aadheenam premises to worship.
The head of the Velakkurichi Aadheenam, who presided over the meet, said the affairs of the Madurai mutt should be guided by the sayings of Thirugnana Sambandar, one of the three Saivaite savants who revived the mutt’s glory. “The heads of the mutt who gathered at Dharumapuran Aadheenam on May 1, only requested the 292nd pontiff to rescind the decision. We have not coerced him,” he clarified.
While the head of a mutt has the right to decide his successor, if any action of the mutt deviates from the Saivite principles, every Saivite has the right to object, he added.
Kumarasamy Thambiran of Dharumapuram Mutt said the mutt would intervene if there was any problem in other Saivite mutts.
On the question of a legal battle, he said a team was already looking into it.“Nithyananda is not following Saivite traditions. The government should remove him from the position of junior pontiff,” he reiterated.
Complaint to CM
Meanwhile, jointly addressing a joint press meet here, the 292nd pontiff Arunagirinatha Desigar and Nithyananda said pujas were regularly being performed to the Tirugnana Sambandar.
They said they would complain to the Chief Minister about Pazha Karuppiah, for “defamatory writing about the mutt,” and added that cases would be filed against Nellai Kannan and Arjun Sampath for “denigrating” them.