Close on the heels of the Nagapattinam Collector banning the annual Aadi festival at Sri Bhadrakaliamman Temple at Pazhag Kallimedu after Dalits were refused the right to host the mandagapadi for a day, the Ariyalur district administration has clamped prohibitory orders at Silambur Therkku village near Andimadam following differences between a section of Vanniyars and Dalits over worship at the local Ayyanar temple.
The village temple, administered by the HR&CE Department, was sealed on Saturday and police personnel deployed. The temple with deities of Ayyanar, Veeranar and Muniyanar has been worshipped by over two generations of people, said official sources. Members of the Scheduled Caste have been worshipping Veeranar, while Vanniyars worshipped all the three deities.
According to police and revenue officials, differences between the communities surfaced around four years ago over the ritual sacrifice of a goat to Veeranar. According to an official, a section of Dalits wanted to perform the sacrifice themselves instead of the traditional practice of a joint offering by both communities. When some Vanniyars objected, the Dalits sought to move the idol of Veeranar out of the temple so they could perform the ritual on their own. The former, however, refused to allow the relocation, stating that their forefathers had installed the idol in the temple.
The temple was sealed in September last year and prohibitory orders were clamped following tension between the communities.