HR&CE officer enters Kanagasabai temple in TN amid resistance from dikshithars

Dikshithars had placed a board in the temple a few days ago announcing restrictions on devotees entering the Kanagasabai (a sacred stage) till Tuesday in view of the annual temple festival. 
Temple.(Photo| Special Arrangement)
Temple.(Photo| Special Arrangement)

CUDDALORE:  Days after a controversy erupted over Podhu Dikshitars of Chidambaram Natarajar temple declining to permit devotees to offer prayers from Kanagasabai in view of the Aani Thirumanjanam festival, Velvizhi, a Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department official, accompanied by two female police officers, entered the Kanagasabai briefly on Tuesday amid stiff resistance from dikshithars and BJP supporters, sources said. 

Dikshithars had placed a board in the temple a few days ago announcing restrictions on devotees entering the Kanagasabai (a sacred stage) till Tuesday in view of the annual temple festival. While HR & CE officials removed the board on Monday, the department minister PK Sekarbabu on Tuesday said the government will ensure that devotees have access to Kanagasabai even during festival days. Speaking to reporters in Chennai, the minister also said the state government is gathering evidence to take over the temple as almost all devotees visiting the shrine have raised the demand. 

The situation in the temple became tense on Tuesday evening when HR&CE officials, led by Velvizhi, arrived at the temple along with revenue and police officials, including Chidambaram DSP B Ragubathy. They urged the dikshithars to permit devotees to have darshan from the Kanagasabai on Tuesday itself, but the dikshithars said they can allow it only from Wednesday.

Police security in and around the temple was also beefed up. The official then briefly entered the Kanagasabai along with two female police officials.  Heated arguments also broke out between Congress workers, who gathered at the spot under state executive council member M N Radha, and BJP cadres led by Cuddalore west district secretary K Maruthai. 

‘We fear HR&CE officials, with police, may forcibly enter Kanagasabai again’

Meanwhile, TS Sivarama Dikshithar, secretary of Podhu Dikshithars guild, in a press statement on Tuesday, said, “Over the past few days, HR&CE officials, with the assistance of police and revenue officials, have been threatening us with the aim to disrupt our puja and festival preparations during the festival.

On Monday evening, after discussions with sub-collector and DSP, it was agreed that talks would take place after the festival. However, on Tuesday morning, police personnel were once again deployed in Keezha Veedhi, and HR&CE officials resumed interfering with our puja and other activities.”

“We feel unsafe and apprehensive that HR&CE officials, with the support of police, may forcefully attempt to enter the Kanagasabai,” he added. The dikshithars also urged authorities to take action against the individuals who removed the board placed by them at the entrance of the Kanagasabai.

In the complaint filed by Podhu Dikshithars at Chidambaram Town Police Station on Tuesday it was alleged that despite prior discussions with officials, the words in the board were removed on Saturday, leading to a vandalism case being filed against 11 dikshithars, including committee’s secretary.

The complaint also said, “Similarly, on Monday evening, in the presence of police, revenue, and HR&CE officials, a person removed the board without prior notice while we were absent.” Podhu Dikshithars requested protection and called for legal action against the individual and submitted a video clip as evidence in support of their claim.

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The New Indian Express