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Collector told to solve temple festival dispute

By Our Staff Reporter

MADURAI, MARCH 10. The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court today directed the Madurai Collector to conduct an enquiry with regard to a dispute between two villages on celebrating the annual festival at Thotti Karuppasamy Temple in Theppathupatti of Usilampatti taluk.

Passing interim orders on a petition filed by the temple priest, Justice M. Chockalingam directed the Collector to solve the dispute amicably and report the outcome before the Bench by tomorrow afternoon. The festival is scheduled tomorrow, followed by a jallikattu the day after.Stating that both the sentiments of the villagers and the law and order situation had to be attended to, the Judge observed a solution for the problem should be found in order to maintain peace and tranquillity in the villages.

According to the priest, the Theppathupatti villagers were conducting the festival from time immemorial. But the Eravarpatti villagers, with an ulterior motive to stop the festival, lodged a false complaint with the Vickramangalam police station. Based on the complaint, a case was registered against eight villagers belonging to Theppathupatti, including the priest, under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, for assaulting a few women in Eravarpatti.

Subsequently, apprehending a clash between the two villages during the scheduled temple festival, the Usilampatti Tahsildar-cum-Executive Magistrate on March 3 passed an order under Section 144 Cr. P. C. (Power to issue orders in urgent cases of nuisance and apprehended danger). The order restrained the villagers from conducting the festival from March 4 to 18.

However, the petitioner moved the court to quash the order of the Tahsildar, as it had been passed without hearing him.

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