20 Chidambaram priests booked under atrocity act
On Wednesday, the Cuddalore police booked around 20 priests from the famous Chidambaram Nataraja temple under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. No arrests have been made so far and further inquiry is on.
Natraja temple situated in Chidambaram is a famous temple in Tamil Nadu, attracting devotees from India and across the world. However, as part of COVID-19 precautionary measures, many priests decided not to allow devotees to the Chitrambala Medai, where Nataraja Idol is placed for darshan. The sanctum is also called Kanagasabhai.
Allegedly, the priests had stopped Lakshmi alias Jayasheela, a woman from the SC community from taking darshan at the Chitrambala Medai. According to the police, Lakshmi stated that the priests verbally abused her by her caste.
Another group of priests had opposed the decision of restricting entry due to COVID-19. This created enmity among them. Subsequently, three priests were booked under attempted murder following an argument with two other priests.
A priest Shakthi Ganesan and his family, including his son and another priest Darshan and a woman devotee, tried to enter the Chitrambalai Medai which was opposed by the three priests.
Darshan and Shakthi Ganeshan while speaking to reporters said, “This temple was built by the Chola kings and the priests don’t have the right to stop anyone from praying at Chitrambalai Medai. Despite the complaint, we filed against the three priests but no action has been taken against them by the police.”
Ayyappan and Vegatesan, the two priests who were part of the group of priests who allegedly prevented other priests from reaching Chitramabalai Medai said, “There is no untouchability in this temple and a section of priests are creating a bad name for the temple. Even Muslims and Christians visit this temple. Some restrictions were placed due to the safety concern and COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The woman has filed a false complaint that she was not allowed entry. This was not because of her caste but due to the majority vote among the priests, a decision was taken not to allow anyone to the Chitrambalai Medai. No one has the right to interfere in this.”
[With Inputs from IANS]
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