Property owners are involved in a dispute with the temple over ownership rights

Dismayed over the continuing stalemate in the dispute between them and the Srirangam Sri Ranganthaswamy Temple with respect to the ownership of properties around the temple, the Srirangam Residents’ Welfare Association has decided to field a candidate for the Tiruchi Lok Sabha Constituency to highlight the problem.

On Monday, the association was forced to call off a demonstration to highlight the issue planned in the temple town after the police denied permission. The decision to contest the election was arrived after informal consultations held among the association members later.

The issue had been simmering for the past few years as a large number of property owners with title deeds were not able to sell or pledge their properties after the temple authorities claimed ownership rights.

At the heart of the dispute is a title deed (number 1027) issued in 1866 and renewed in 1910 under which temple authorities claim that 320 acres belong to the temple. But many affected residents dispute this and claim that they had purchased the lands and pattas have been issued through settlements reached at different periods in the past.

But some owners had been issued notices and property transactions around the Srirangam Temple are not being registered over the past few years in view of the dispute.

The matter became a campaign issue during the Assembly election with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa promising steps to sort out the problem. But so far a decision had not been taken by the government on the issue, the association members regret.

“Nearly 7,000 families have been affected. Though the authorities say that the issue has been taken up with the government, there has been no solution in sight so far. We do not want to politicise the issue but the police denied permission to our agitation at the eleventh hour. Since there has been no action on our plea, we are planning to field a candidate from among us as an Independent in the Lok Sabha election to bring the issue to the fore,” S.N. Mohan Ram, president, Srirangam Residents’ Welfare Association, told The Hindu on Tuesday.