Petition filed in Madras HC against 'untouchability' in temple festival

Chennai: Alleging untouchability by one sect of Vaishnavites against another at a temple in Cuddalore district, a petition has been filed in Madras High Court seeking to do away with the practice of shutting the temple doors when the deity of another shrine passes in front of it.

Admitting the petition, Justice S Vydyanathan ordered notice to the Cuddalore District Collector, Assistant Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments and Executive Officer of the Sri Devanathaswamy temple at Thiruvanthipuram returnable by two weeks.

Petitioner Govindaramanuja Dasar, president of Intenational Sri Vaishnava Dharma Samrakshana Society, sought
to restrain the authorities of from closing the doors during the procession of deity of Manavala Mamunigal temple. He submitted that the idol of Sri Manavala Mamunigal is taken on procession on a particular day (Moola Naktchatra day).

During the festival on October 29 last year, when the deity reached near the entrance of Sri Devanathaswamy temple,
some of the Vaishnavites belonging to Vadakalai sect closed the doors of the temple. When he objected, they tried to attack him and abused him stating that devotees of Manavala Mamunigal are to be treated as untouchables and they cannot enter the Devanathaswamy temple, the petitioner claimed.

He said he had already lodged a complaint in this regard with the temple authorities but there was no response. The festival this year is scheduled to start from October 19. Hence he prayed the court to direct the authorities to conduct an inquiry into the issue and sought to restrain the Executive Officer of Devanathaswamy Temple from closing the doors during the procession of Manavala Mamunigal.

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