TIRUVANNAMALAI: Two months after a century-old village temple was closed by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR &CE) following communal tension between dalits and vanniyars, villagers of Hariharapakkam panchayat near Cheyyar passed resolutions at a special grama sabha meet on Wednesday, permitting devotees of all castes and religion into the shrine.
In a sentence comprising 31 words, villagers of Hariharapakkam wrapped up the century-old ban. Villagers of Hariharapakkam panchayat near Cheyyar passed the resolutions at a special grama sabha meet on Wednesday against the ban.
The resolution said they (the villagers) are “reconciled to the fact that residents of all villages will worship the deity of Arulmighu Thulukanathamman temple” without any restriction in the coming days. The second resolution said they agreed to maintain law and order and celebrate the festivals peacefully to ensure that no communal issue will arise in the future.
After villagers signed the resolutions, men, women and children marched to the temple to offer prayers. It was opened in the presence of tashildar of Venpakkam G Perumal and inspector of HR & CE P Raja at about noon.
“We are happy,” said Nagamma, in her 70s, with tears after offering prayer at the temple. She was one among the villagers, who stormed into the temple the minute it was opened. “We don’t want the temple to be closed for any reason hereafter,” said Gopal.
Revenue officials thanked both dalits and vanniyars for displaying maturity in handling the issue and finding an amicable solution. “Close to 400 people (vanniyars) signed the resolution copy in the special grama sabha,” Cheyyar sub-collector T Prabhu Shankar told TOI.
“We are happy to see that the villagers settled the issue amongst themselves in a peaceful manner. We are also happy that the dalits showed extraordinary faith in the administration and remained patient all these days,” he said.
Communal tension flared up in August last year when a group of dalit youths approached the district administration to help them enter the temple during the Aadi festival.
Following this, the administration summoned villagers (Vanniyars) for peace talk. The villagers, however, locked the temple. Two peace talk meetings failed to break the deadlock.
Following this, sub-Collector Shankar provided security to dalits as they entered the temple and offered prayers on October 25, 2016.