Tension prevailed for sometime near the Sthalasayana Perumal temple at Mamallapuram on Monday morning as a group of people raised slogans against the ‘exercise of verifying and recording the objections’ undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), with respect to the proposal to bring this temple into the ASI fold.
The group, which gathered near the temple, at around 10 a.m., raised slogans alleging that the exercise was nothing but an eye-wash as neither the Kancheepuram Lok Sabha representative nor the person elected to the State Assembly nor any other public representative was included in the five-member team that had been formed to hear and record the objections raised by the public on the issue.
However, they relented after ASI officials clarified that the team, headed by the regional director, ASI, South Zone, D. Dayalan, had been formed based on directions of the Madras High Court.
Due to the demonstration, which lasted for about an hour, the process of recording the statements of 63 persons, who had sent their objections in writing to the ASI, Chennai Circle office earlier, began around noon after the Kancheepuram MP P. Viswanathan submitted his petition to the team.
In his petition, he had stated that he was objecting to the ASI’s move in order to preserve the sentiments of Hindus.
A few minutes later, the Tiruporur MLA K. Manoharan presented his petition objecting the takeover of the temple by the ASI, citing the widespread resentment prevailing among residents. The temple should continue to be under the control of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department, he added.
Later in the evening, the secretary, Tamil Development, Religious Endowments and Information Department and Commissioner (in-charge), HR and CE, M. Rajaram recorded the Department’s objection in person before the team.
The exercise which commenced on Monday is scheduled to conclude on Friday. The statements of little over 300 persons would be recorded and verified, sources said.
Meanwhile, a group of persons have recently formed the ‘Kanchi Forum for Historical Awareness’ (KFHA) to get the ancient town included in the UNESCO World Heritage City list.
The Forum has approached the Kancheepuram Municipality to pass a resolution in this regard, said V. Panneerselvam, coordinator, KFHA.