Villagers say temple land has been encroached by an individual

Tension prevailed at Vellalore here on Thursday over a dispute regarding the ownership of a piece of land near Karivarada Perumal Temple. The temple is said to be over 1,400 years old.

A wordy duel broke out between a section of villagers and an individual who reportedly owns the land around the temple when some of the villagers removed a fence for undertaking renovation works for the temple’s ‘mahasamprokshanam.’ It is reportedly being performed after a gap of nearly 400 years.

Family members of the person who claims to be the owner of the land denied allegations of encroachment and said that the land belonged to them.

P.S. Manian, a member of the village committee for temple consecration, claimed that the individual had encroached upon the land some 30 years ago and the then temple priest was unable to prevent it.

He said that a few cents to the north of the temple and over 90 cents to the east where the temple’s ‘theppakulam’ and an approach road was located had been usurped.

He claimed that the dispute had been going on for over three decades with no action from the government. He said in 1983, 1985, and again in 2007 the hereditary temple trustee V. Damodharan had appealed to District Collector to conduct a survey of the land. Mr. Damodharan died in 2008.

According to the ‘Re-survey and Re-settlement of the Village of Sarkar Agrahara Vellalur’ done in 1912, land near the temple had been classified as ‘dharisu’ or waste land, Mr. Manian said.

“We removed the fence on Wednesday to make way for trucks carrying materials for renovation.

The person claiming to be the owner of the land complained to Revenue Department officials. They came on Thursday to conduct a survey of the north side of the temple,” he said.

The villagers requested the officials to conduct a survey on the east side as well and ascertain if the land was encroached.

Later, it was agreed that a meeting would be held by the Revenue Divisional Officer in which both sides could place their land records and sort out the dispute.

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