Members of the Tamil Nadu Hindu Maha Sabha on Monday morning staged a protest at the Ayodhya Aswathameda Mahamandapam in West Mambalam against the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department’s decision to take over the institution.

A group of men gathered outside the Mandapam and raised slogans against the department and its decision. According to an order by the department, the Mandapam was a place of worship with two temples inside where donations are being collected and festivals held.

The order was passed keeping public welfare in mind, to make it a place of worship for all people, to maintain proper accounts and bring in benefits of the State government.

The Mandapam, the Mithilapuri Kalyana Mandapam, Sri Sitaram Vidyalaya Matriculation Higher Secondary School, and Gnanavapi, are run by the Sri Ram Samaj, a society, which was founded in 1954. A member of the society said that it was not a temple as it did not have a presiding deity or a dwajasthambam (flag mast) and was involved only in conducting religious discourses, and festivals including Ramanavami, Navarathri and Kandasashti.

Sources in the department said that a ‘fit person’ or Thakkar was appointed for an interlocutory period to set right the affairs of the institution. “This was done on the basis of a petition submitted to the department. Notices were pasted at the Ayodhya Mandapam and a Thakkar even tried to take charge. The person who gave the petition has withdrawn it; so, a decision would be taken later,” he said.

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