Every year, the Tamil Hindu community across the globe, celebrates the Panguni Uthram festival that usually takes place in the month of Panguni (mid-March-mid April) in the Tamil calendar. The festival takes place on a full moon day, when the moon transits the uthram nakshatra, one of the 27 stars in the Hindu tradition. According to the Hindu beliefs, the auspicious festival celebrates the celestial wedding of Aandaal and Rangamannar, Parvati and Shiva, Murugan and Deivanai.
This year, the festival fell on 7 April, 2020.
In keeping with tradition, a Hindu priest in Thenpathu village in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu opened the temple for a few hours to perform the customary pooja. However, he was immediately arrested and a case filed against him by the local police for flouting lockdown norms. The arrest led to widespread protest and displeasure in the area and on social media.
However, a few days back in the same village, a wedding took place in a church. According to Shri Arjun Sampath, Hindu dharma activist and President, Indu Makkal Katchi (IMK, the Hindu People’s Party), a Hindu nationalist party in the state, a wedding was celebrated in the church that ignored social distancing norms. However, he alleges that the police engaged in a dialogue with them and handled them with kid gloves. It certainly did not lead to any arrest and criminal charges.
Hence to highlight the selective discrimination against Hindus being practised by statal agencies, the IMK took to its Twitter handle to highlight the issue.
A Temple priest seen crying, he has been arrested for opening Temple for a few hours for Panguni Uthram in Tirunelveli.
But government has allowed Churches and Mosques to be opened, or none of them arrested. pic.twitter.com/0K2ob5VtZ6
— Indu Makkal Katchi (Offl) 🇮🇳 (@Indumakalktchi) June 20, 2020
“ The local administration [in Tirunelveli] will go to any extent in their efforts at minority appeasement. However, even perceived minor transgressions by Hindus, or as in most cases, even the absence of transgressions, are severely dealt with. We Hindus have no one to speak for us. Nor do we stand up for ourselves. We are orphans in the government set up,” says Shri Sampath, who also admits that the district administration has promised to look into the matter and address the injustice.
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