Tamil Nadu HRCE has been accused of using detonators in a hill that hosts millennia old Vishnu temple in Senchi. The temple’s compound wall collapsed after heavy monsoon rains as they became unstable after a part of the hill was allegedly detonated. The hand of DMK minister, Masthan, is alleged to be behind this.
The Singavaram Ranganatha swamy temple, built during the reign of Mahendra Varma Pallava, is more than 1500 years old. It’s a cave temple, carved out of the hill, merely 4 km away from the famous Gingee fort. The Ranganatha temple is said to receive tens of thousands of devotees during special occasions such as Vaikunda Ekadashi.
While the temple comes under ASI, HRCE is responsible for administration. Devotees have been requesting HRCE to lay a road leading to the top of the hill as it becomes difficult to access the temple when there is more crowd. It is said that HRCE agreed to construct a road in 2017. An estimate of Rs.50 lakh was drawn to lay a road for 555 meter on the hill. However later HRCE decided that the estimate wouldn’t be enough and prepared a new plan with an estimate of Rs.1 crore.
In the meantime the locals are said to have taken matters into their own hands in 2018 and initiated the construction work. However temple activists alleged that it was against Agama rules and it would be a danger to the temple. They went to court against it and obtained a stay. Back then HRCE had submitted in court that the hillock doesn’t come under their purview but under the Revenue Department.
It is alleged that the efforts to lay the road were resumed and the rocks were detonated on November 18. The area received heavy rains on November 19 as a result of which the compound wall of the temple, already unstable due to detonation, gave away and collapsed. Locals have alleged that despite the stay it was with the intervention of DMK MLA and minister Masthan, a Muslim, that the construction work was restarted.
TNBJP spokesperson Narayanan Tirupathi visited the temple and said that the construction work was taking place without obtaining clearance and permission from concerned government departments. He also alleged that the work was resumed with Masthan’s intervention and raised suspicions that the atheist DMK government could be intentionally damaging the temple.
But miniser Masthan said that he was approached by the locals to lay a road to the temple and only with their welfare in mind he initiated the work. He was in AIADMK earlier and won from the same constituency. Akhila Bharatha Hindu Mahasabha has written to the Prime Minister and ASI direction asking them to intervene in the matter to protect the temple. It has alleged that the road is being laid to grant access for vehicles to trudge up the hill.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed against the ongoing road construction after hearing which the court has directed the government to maintain status quo as the government pleader said that they didn’t use detonators and intend to protect the temple.
(Hindu Post could not independently verify the authenticity of the video)