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Saturday, May 18, 2024

TN: Hindu procession stopped from passing through ‘church’ street

A Hindu procession was stopped from entering a street by Tamil Nadu police which claimed that the street belonged to the local church. Hindus staged a protest alleging that the court has directed it to be used as a public path till the dispute about the street is resolved. Protesters were manhandled and police officials reportedly used unparliamentary language to abuse Hindu activists. The church itself is believed to have been built encroaching on a centuries-old temple.

On January 27, Hindus of Serndamarm village in Tenkasi took out a procession to the Neelamadai Aiyyanar temple as part of the yearly festival. When they were about to enter a street near the bus stop, they were stopped by the police who said that the street was private property as it belonged to the Sts Peter and Paul Church. From Facebook posts, we gather that Hindus were denied permission to continue the procession through the street. Hindu Munnani, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and BJP joined the devotees to protest against this injustice and staged a protest when police stopped the procession from entering the street.

The Sarveswaran temple is located on the concerned street and the procession passes through the temple every year, per the locals’ accounts. The temple itself is in dispute as Catholic Christians have encroached on the temple and built St Paul and Peter’s church around it. Hindu Post covered the issue in detail in 2017. At that time, Hindus discovered that a temple structure was inside the church when the outer walls were brought down for renovation. 

Hindu Munnani took the matter to the relevant authorities and then to the courts. A PIL was filed in the Madurai bench of Madras High Court seeking to direct the Archeology Department to inspect the temple structure and declare it as a protected monument. A 2014 Times of India report said that according to the petitioner, the church management encroached on the temple land during British rule and constructed the church after demolishing the temple’s entrance. It allowed the villagers to celebrate the temple festival till 2012, but after that, even that was denied, the petition said.

The temple structure was revealed when the church underwent renovation
Inscriptions found in the temple structure found inside the church

The church had encroached on temple land as well which was recovered through legal process. It appears that the public street was part of the encroachment. The church went to court, claiming the street as its private property. In 2019, the Madurai bench of Madras HC said that it should be dealt with in a civil court and ruled that the street should be maintained as public property with access to everyone. During the proceedings, the Special Government Pleader submitted that “small pillars which were located in the village on the other side of the road to prevent the public from using it were removed and this position will continue and shall abide by the decree passed in the pending civil suit”.

Locals say that last year the procession passed through the street and the temple. But this year the Sub Inspector of Sernthamaram refused to allow the procession to pass through the Sarveshwaran temple, now Sts Peter and Paul Church, street. As Hindu activists and devotees sat on protest refusing to take it lying down, DSP Ashok Raj reportedly abused them and manhandled them. Among the protesters 27 were arrested and police assaulted VHP State Acting Committee member Kuzhaikadhar. The DSP allegedly abused Hindu activists in obscene language.

Hindu activists were prepared and showed the 2019 court ruling where the Special Pleader said that the street will be used as a public path and questioned the police. They were reportedly told to throw it in the dustbin. After encroaching on the temple now, the church has stopped the procession of another temple as well. Unsurprisingly, nearly no media covered the incident and even the only media that covered it whitewashed it without mentioning the dispute and the church’s high-handedness.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Religious hate spred by their planned and cancerous thoughts of teaching will spoil their existence soon, once the sleeping goats to unite to kick off the wolf’s in the herd.

  2. One thing is clear in all this confusion… That is the intention of the govt thru police action… DMK govt will go to any extent to ensure injustice to Hindus and Hindu temples…

  3. நாம் வாயை மூடிக் கொண்டோ, கைகளை கண்களைக் கட்டிக் கொண்டோ இருந்தால் இந்துக்களின் தலையில் மிளகாய் அரைத்துக் கொண்டேதான் இருப்பாா்கள், பொருத்தது போதும், பொங்கி எழுவோம், இந்து தா்மத்தைக் காப்போம். ஒத்து வரவில்லையென்றால் அவா்களும் எந்தத்திருவிழாவும் நடத்தக்கூடாது, நடத்த விடவும் கூடாது. ஏன் ஞாயிறுப் பிராா்த்தனைகூட நடத்தப்படக் கூடாது. நமக்கு ஒரு நியாயம் அவா்களுக்கு ஒன்றா, நடத்தினால் இரண்டையும் நடத்தணும், இல்லையேல் ஒன்றும் நடத்தக்கூடாது.

  4. ஒரு தெருவில் கூட வேற்று மதத்தவர்கள் அதிகமாகி விட்டால் ஹிந்துக்களின் நிலை பரிதாபமாக ஆகுகிறது என்பதற்கு இந்த சம்பவம் ஒரு உதாரணம்

  5. The issue should be handled by Arbitration and resolved.The dispute is mainly on land and not on the religious mind of the people.The Hindus should know that the masonary church is in religious terms only a building and church is constituted by the religious followers of the Christian community.Actually there is thus no dispute because if the church authority achieves common consent they can build a magnificent building to house the church followers closeby,well out of the way of Hindu processions.Prof.Paul.v.j.

  6. Hindu fronts should do what happened to a Christian priest in Tel/ Hyd recently when he abused Hindu deities. Why are we keeping mum?

  7. How can a public path be the private property of a church? Anyway, marshalling a religious procession down the private path of a chruch does not undermine the Christian religion. It’s a simple matter and to be treated liberally.

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