Hindus join together in Erode to protect temple from demolition

via VSK Chennai published on May 31, 2010


Erode (Tamilnadu) May 31– The Friday (May 28) Bandh at Erode was unique. It was “total and without any untoward instance”, as the media reported the next day. The Bandh call was given by no political party or organisation, but by a struggle group ‘Movement for Retrieving Periya Mariyamman Temple Land’, comprising devotees of a Kali temple centrally located in the bustling commercial town.   The town being the birth place of E V Ramaswamy Naicker who ran  a bitter anti god campaign for over 6 decades across the state, wore a deserted look that day, indicating the total solidarity of the town for devotees’ demands. Over 120 outfits of traders and workers as well as Hindu organisations expressed solidarity for the bandh call. It was natural that even the tea shops downed their shutters as did the multi crore mega malls — all to augment the cause of a Hindu temple.

The demands of the Movement include retrieval of more than 15 acres of temple land that Church of South India (CSI) possesses illegally. During British Raj it was snatched from Hindus and handed over to London Mission, that became CSI later on. The temple itself was relocated to a roadside to accommodate CSI school and hospital. As if to add insult to injury, the highways department last week started work on a flyover running above the centuries old temple. The devotees were “enraged” as a media report goes. They were afraid of the wrath of Mariyamman and arranged for the mahabhishekham for the Divine mother on the Bandh day. Over 1,500 woman devotees brought pots of milk as well as water in a procession that culminated in a public meeting in front of the temple. Speaking on the occasion, Shri. E.R.M Chandrasekar, convener of the Movement and saha jilla sanghchalak of RSS, asked the government to see reason and stop forthwith the flyover project. Eventually it stopped – with the men and machines at work absenting themselves the next day onwards. “It reminds me of the fate of the Setu samudram project”, quipped a trader. “Rather the Amarnath Temple Movement”, said another.

The expert opinion is that instead of the Rs 19 crore flyover, the government would do well to ask the CSI to vacate the temple land that would pave the way  for an unfinished 80 feet road to be completed at the cost of a few lakhs to ease traffic snarls. Moreover, the flyover (via the temple) was not at all needed there, but elsewhere in the town – near the Govt Hospital junction – because the traffic is much heavier there.

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