Following the villagers agreeing to conduct the festival at Mariamman Temple peacefully in Kottaiyur in Mettur taluk, revenue officials removed the seal and opened the temple on Thursday evening. Thousands of people from nearby villagers and from Dharmapuri district throng the temple every year to celebrate the festival during Aadi month. There were reports that even late forest brigand Veerappan used to visit the temple and offered prayers.
Presently, Mahadevan is the temple head while Kuppusamy is the village head and both organise the festivals every year.
But Sithan, Aiyannan and other villagers said that they have rights to conduct festival in the temple as their elders were part of the temple administration. The duo sought permission from the Mettur Sub-Collector J. Meghanath Reddy for conducting the festival.
A tripartite meeting was held on Tuesday in which the Sub-Collector asked both the groups to conduct the festival peacefully.
On Tuesday night, Mahadevan and Kuppusamy attempted to conduct the festival while other villagers opposed to it. Mettur Tahsildar Krishnan, Kolathur police and other revenue officials held talks with the villagers and tried to pacify them. Since, both the groups were firm on their demands, talks did not yield any results.
On Tuesday night, officials closed the temple and sealed it. Police personnel were also posted in the village to prevent untoward incidents.
On Thursday, the Sub-Collector held a tripartite meeting in which it was decided to conduct the festival as followed during previous years. It was also decided that the priest should not carry the deity on his head to the river and only vehicle should be used for transporting. Villagers were asked to decide the next course of action after conducting the festival. The seal was removed in the evening and festival began amid presence of police personnel.