CUDDALORE: Imagine how would it be if temples of Lord Narasimha (a half lion-half human form of Hindu god Vishnu) had lions in captivity inside the premises? Seems strange, right?
How then are temples in Neyveli and Virudhachalam holding peacocks (vehicle of the Hindu god Muruga) and deer as captives, blatantly violating the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
After the episode of releasing peafowls into the wild held in captivity inside Vandipalayam Murugan temple, the same deity’s temples in Neyveli and Virudhachalm have also been found in possession of peafowls.
Although both Forest Department officials and Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) officials are aware of Kolanjiappar Murugan temple having nearly 21 deer and six of them dying due to food poisoning, not much is being done.
After Express visited Vandipalayam Murugan temple near Cuddalore and found that two peafowls had been kept in captive for more than four years, officials, within a few hours rescued the birds and released them into forest reserve on February 21.
However, soon it was found that Villudayanpattu Murugan temple in Neyveli also has been having peafowls for nearly three decades.
When Express contacted the Neyveli group of temples’ trustees, which too falls under HR&CE, they claimed they had no knowledge of the wildlife law and violating them.
One of the trustees said, “We have been having six peacocks for the last three decades, all donated by the devotees. We did not indulge in trading. As devotees donated it to the temple, we decided to take care of them. We have been holding peacocks only because no one would buy them like roosters, which also gets donated to the temple. Nevertheless, we are ready to give them up if forest officials are willing to recover them,” he added.
When contacted, Abishek Tomar, District Forest Officer (In-charge) said, “The deer died due to food poisoning after it was found that locals have been feeding them.
"However, in due course, we will shift them to Vandalur zoo. And we will also rescue all the peacocks at the earliest.”