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Tamil Nadu - Madurai Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

In the name of God

Mohamed Imranullah S.

A place of worship playing a role in law and order problems has become a cause of concern these days. The inability of locals to get together in celebrating temple festivals, forcing district authorities to impose a ban on celebrations, and the increasing number of festivals being conducted on court orders signal an unhealthy practice.

The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court resolves at least one dispute pertaining to celebration of temple festivals every fortnight. In all these instances, the district officials used to restrain villagers from conducting the festival apprehending law and order problems.

When the conduct of temple festivals is decided by a court of law, the quintessence of the celebration is ultimately lost in an effort to find a viable solution to conduct the rituals peacefully. A classic example is the recent dispute between groups of villagers in celebrating the annual festival of Thotti Karuppasamy Temple in Theppathupatti of Usilampatti taluk. The festival, originally scheduled for March 11, is yet to be celebrated owing to a prolonged dispute between sections of villagers.

Only on April 12 did the Bench direct the Collector to allow two warring groups to celebrate the festival separately, making it clear that the ceremonial `jallikattu,' the cause of a possible clash, should not be conducted.

The Collector had to appear in person before the court in the case more than once to explain the magnitude of danger apprehended by him if the festival was allowed to be conducted without taking proper precautionary measures.

He had also organised three peace meetings in the village, but his efforts to conduct the festival without losing its traditional fervour were in vain.

Falling on the same line, the `pookuzhi' festival of Veeranasamy Temple in Melur taluk, the drama festival of Karuppasamy Temple at Mudhalaikulam near Usilampatti, the `kumbabhishekam' of Parvathi Amman Temple at Alwarkulam in Tuticorin and the annual festival of Periyamuthalamman Temple at Ayyampalayam in Dindigul were all conducted on the directions of the Madurai Bench.

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