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Thursday, June 8, 2023

TN PWD demolishes Hindu temples and houses in Thanjavur amid protests by locals

The Public Works Department (PWD) has demolished several houses and temples in Thanjavur while making the fantastical claim that attempts were being made by the people to ‘take over’ the Samudra Lake in Thanjavur by constructing shops, temples, and houses.

Recently, social media (SM) was abuzz with the sorry sight of a huge Shiva Linga atop a temple being mowed down using JCB, bringing the Linga crashing down along with the temple.

The demolition drive took place at the Thanjavur-Nagai road that leads to the Adimariamman Temple on Thanjavur’s Samudra Lake. The Tamil Nadu (TN) PWD department claimed to be implementing a court order to ‘remove encroachments’ on water bodies.

In 2017, the PWD had demolished 70 structures including temples and houses after filing a case in the court. In August this year, the department approached the courts once again asking for permission to demolish structures (temples, houses, and establishments) while asserting that these were being constructed with the aim of ‘occupying the lake’.

The Madurai High Court had passed an interim injunction order restraining the department from demolishing the Adimariamman Temple on the basis of a case filed by temple manager Shri Ramamurthy’s wife Padmavathi. The court had even ordered the department to respond to the petition.

While the department states that it is only “implementing the court order” seeking the demolition of the temple within 10 weeks of the PWD’s August statement asking permission to demolish the structures and also that sufficient time had been given to the people to relocate the temple, it is the contention of the people that they were not given the opportunity to contest the PWD claims in the court or seek legal remedies to the encroachment claims.

The high-handedness of the authorities was visible when it bulldozed the ancient temple without bothering about the sentiments of the gathered Hindus who were protesting against the demolition.


It must be mentioned here that the PWD never showed such urgency to remove a church built on the Keelkattalai (Chennai suburbs) lake bed and had made the excuse that the “church was not in the natural course of the water body”. This is the kind of double-standards and hypocrisy that is being displayed by government authorities all over Tamil Nadu.

It is the right of every civilian to seek legal recourse but the PWD department neither waited for the 10 weeks stipulated by the Madurai HC nor gave the aggrieved parties sufficient time to relocate the temple.

(Featured Image Source: Twitter)

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