A day after the Tamil Nadu government took over Chennai’s Ayodhya Mandapam amid protests led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Prime Minister MK Stalin on Tuesday asked the BJP MLA and Mahila Morcha National President Vanathi Srinivasan that it center rather should concentrate on people’s problems and reduce fuel prices.
Stalin also said that the “unnecessary policy of the BJP to strengthen its party” would never work in Tamil Nadu. The case also played out on Monday in Madras’ high court. Officials of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR&CE) closed the property and decided to take over the administration of 64-year-old Sri Ram Samaj rune Ayodhya Mandapam (which is not a temple but ritual and religious practices are carried out) after receiving complaints that the Sri Ram Samaj has received enormous amount of money mismanaged through the collection box.
Tension prevailed in Chennai’s West Mambalam on Monday, where this property is located. The protesters carried slogans such as ‘Ram Ram Sri Ram’, and ‘Do not enter the Mandapam’. After it turned into a law-and-order issue, the city police arrested the protesters, and the state government took possession of the property. The protesters were later released.
BJP’s only city councilor, Uma Anandan, who was part of the protest, criticized Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) for playing politics at the takeover. “Where’s the message of the show’s cause?” Said Anandan.
At the meeting, Srinivasan of BJP raised this issue to which the Prime Minister of Tamil Nadu replied that the common people are burdened with rising prices of fuel and gas cylinders. He also added that he had encouraged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he met earlier in Delhi, to clear waiting time for Tamil Nadu. “You have to support us in such matters,” Stalin said. “You have to understand and act according to what the people of the state benefit. Instead, if you think you can strengthen your party by bringing in politics, it can never happen,” he said.
In 2013, the HR & CE department issued an order to take over the Ayodhya Mandapam. Subsequently, a ‘fit person’ (generally an executive officer) was appointed to manage the affairs of the mandapam. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) was the ruling party at the time.
In March of this year, Judge of Madras High Court Justice VM Velumani ordered that a petition filed by the Samaj be rejected, claiming that it is not a public temple and therefore the HR&CE cannot interfere. The HR & CE department claimed that idols are kept and regular poojas are performed and that the Samaj receives enormous amounts of money through the hundiyal (collection box), which is not responsible and is used for personal purposes by some members. On Monday, based on an appeal filed by the Samaj, the court heard both sides on the appointment of a ‘fit person’ and adjourned the case until April 21.