Temple properties have been encroached by Muslims in Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu. Despite Hindu outfits’ efforts to recover the land through legal means, Muslims are said to have constructed shopping complexes, houses and other commercial buildings. Hindu Munnani which has been fighting to retrieve the land has appealed to the HRCE minister to remove the encroachment.
Agni Veerabhadra swamy temple in Ramanathapuram, which was overtaken by HRCE in 1969, owns 2 acre and 90 cents land. It was endowed to the temple to take care of its daily affairs by devotees Veerabhadra Karuppa Keethari Yadav and Muthu Karuppa Keethari Yadav in 1995.The current market value of the said property is estimated to be Rs.200 crore.
The property is now encroached by Salimullah Khan, ex-district secretary of a muslim party, Mustafa and Kader Basha who owns a marriage hall. They have been constructing more buildings in the encroached space and activists allege that they haven’t obtained permission from district administration for the construction work either.
In 2013 itself the temple’s priest Rajendran had filed a petition in the Madurai bench of Madras High Court. The court had directed the HRCE department to look into the matter and remove the encroachments. As per the information available on the case, it was one Subbaiah, one of the trustees appointed by HRCE in the past, that tried to usurp the property by getting a debt using its documents. Subramaniyan who gave money to Subbaiah is then said to have sold it to someone else. Now it is encroached by Salimullah Khan, Mustafa and Kader Basha.
In February, Bhoomidasan, a retired Village Administrative Officer filed a petition in Madurai bench seeking the court to direct HRCE officials to recover the land and put a stay on construction activities on the encroached property. The court issued a stay and directed HRCE officials to take necessary action. However the construction work appears to not have been stalled.
As the new DMK government in its attempt to not appear anti-Hindu has been creating much hype about recovering encroached temple lands, Hindu Munnani has challenged HRCE minister Sekar Babu to recover the Rs.200 crore worth property of Veerabhadra swamy temple as well. This particular case shows why temples shouldn’t be under government control and is yet another example of government appointed trustees looting temple properties.
(Featured Image Source: Etv Bharat)
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