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Saturday, May 18, 2024

TN: HRCE builds toilets in 1000 year old temple complex

The Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments(HRCE) department has outdone itself by allegedly building toilets in a temple complex. As the requests to remove them fell on deaf ears Hindu activists staged a protest in the more than 1000-year-old Thiruvottiyur Thyagaraja Swamy temple.

The Thyagaraja Swamy temple in Thiruvottiyur, Chennai is believed to be more than 1000 years old built during the Pallava era. The temple is also known as Adipureeswarar temple as it is believed that it was the first temple to have been built on earth after Bhagwan Maha Vishnu recovered the Vedas from asuras Madhu and Kaitabha. An inscription from 954 CE shows that Cholas patronised the temple and it served as a centre of learning, with the halls inside the temple acting as venue for religious discourses in subjects like vyakarna (translation), Somasiddantha (philosophy) and Panini’s grammar.

The illustrious history and religiosity of the temple doesn’t seem to mean anything to the HRCE department though. Hindu activists have alleged that three public toilets have been built inside the temple complex with no regard for the sanctity of the place. The toilets have been built near the sannidhi of Akasha Lingam. Hindu activists protested against HRCE’s decision to build the toilets without caring for the divinity of the temple in the initial stages.

However, HRCE officials went ahead with their plan and built them. As their request to authorities fell on deaf ears, Hindu activists staged a protest in the temple and prayed to the presiding deities Thyagaraja Swamy and Vadivudai Amman to grant good sense to the officials. It appears that the Executive Officer’s office, which is present on the premises of the temple, had CM MK Stalin’s photo.

Hindu activist Manali Manohar questioning HRCE officials

Manali Manohar, a Hindu Munnani office bearer who headed the protest, questioned the EO why the photo of someone who doesn’t believe in Hindu Dharma, does not wish for Hindu festivals and keeps denigrating them is kept inside the temple. He also implored devotees to not remain mute spectators and raise questions about the malpractices of HRCE.

Earlier the department had planned to build a fish market near the Arulmigu Kandasamy Adhi Mottayamman temple, using funds Rs.1.55 crore who is to be procured from Subramanya Swamy temple in Tiruttani, Devi Karumari Amman temple in Thiruverkadu and Kamakshi Amman, Vaikunda Perumal temples in Mangadu as loan.

There is no dearth to atrocities committed by HRCE officials in temples under their control using temple money. Many of them have zero regards for the sanctity of temples and wear sandals inside them, allow Christian marriages, eat non-vegetarian food and use the office as a personal space. In one particularly egregious instance, the EO gave away temple land to Christians to build a church. Temple funds are constantly misused to buy toilet ware, vehicles, food, snacks, etc. From stealing money from hundi to destroying sculptures, HRCE has been a bane on temples. Yet, they continue to be under their control as the secular state sees them as cash cows.

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