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Updated: June 6, 2013 19:20 IST

PMK men violate Shore Temple sanctity

D. Madhavan
Comment (46)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
PMK supporters hoist party flags atop Shore Temple during the party
conference on Thursday. Photo: ASI
PMK supporters hoist party flags atop Shore Temple during the party conference on Thursday. Photo: ASI

The sanctity of the Shore Temple at Mamallapuram was violated last Thursday when thousands of PMK cadres clambered on to it and hoisted flags of the party and Vanniyar Sangham.

In the process, the structure of the seventh century AD monument, one of 32 at the World Heritage site, could have been weakened.

The fences were uprooted, and the lawn and entrance gate damaged, sources in the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said.

PMK supporters had gathered at the Shore Temple for a public meeting as part of the annual Vanniyar Sangham conference that coincides with Chitra Pournami.

ASI sources said it had the authority to give or refuse permission only within the site area. The conference was conducted on the southern end of the World Heritage site.

“The structure of the shore temple has weakened due to years of onslaught from sea wind. Dozens of Vanniyar Sangham workers and PMK men walked all over the premises, climbed up the temple and hoisted six flags. During last year’s conference, they acted in a similar fashion at the temple,”

G. Maheshwari, superintending archaeologist, ASI (Chennai Circle), told The Hindu. “We have written to the DGP about the damage to the structure,” she added.

On April 15, the ASI (Chennai Circle) had written to the Kancheepuram revenue and police authorities seeking adequate police protection for the monuments on the day of the conference.

The ASI said the police and the District Collector did not provide adequate security. Only six policemen were deployed. Even they were withdrawn at around 11 a.m. for duty elsewhere in the district.

ASI sources said that at around 11 a.m, thousands of PMK men forcibly entered the premises by breaking the lock on the Shore Temple gate. A team led by A.Jellani Bashir, senior conservation archaeologist, rushed to the spot and requested the men to leave. They, however, engulfed the temple premises. “We had to stop issuing tickets to tourists as the entire temple was filled with PMK men. They also hoisted their party flag on the Pallava-era lighthouse, a protected monument and part of the heritage site,” said an ASI official.  

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Emotions ran high or It was an enthusiastic mob or It is a political
ploy to defame and denigrate our disciplined party cadre - three
possible responses, if they deign to respond at all, from the party
honchos.

That said, the imputed cost of indiscipline, lying and punitive damages
should be laid on the party, even at the risk of them going bankrupt.
Should set an example in the country for such ruffian behavior.

from:  Gopalakrishnan Rengan
Posted on: May 1, 2013 at 13:31 IST

Whether it's PMK or DMK and they are uncontrollable. A ban should be placed on this party for the next 2 years and it should be a lesson for others.

from:  Paraankusam Ramaswamy
Posted on: May 1, 2013 at 01:20 IST

The ASI, for all the trust bestowed upon it, is hardly capable of protecting all our heritage monuments. The Hindu, in the recent past, has highlighted the pitiful condition of some of the monuments in AP whose well being is supposed to be the responsibility of the ASI. What emerged as one of the strong reasons for the failure was the lack of adequate manpower to provide the required security for the sites under its control. So it is not at all surprising that vandals, particularly the lumpen of political parties, have a field day on such occasions.

In order to protect such sites from vandalism, we should have laws that permanently debar political parties and their members and supporters from entering the premises other than in the capacity of ordinary citizens. And to make such a law more meaningful and strong, grant rights to the police to make preventive arrests if such persons enter the premises with their political ad-ware.

from:  Kay Nathan
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 23:56 IST

Absolutely outrageous. Posters all over TN have been advertising about
this meeting. Was the govt and Police sleeping? That said, the
perpetrators of this act should be handed the harshest punishment
possible. The leader of the party and organizers of the meeting should
be held responsible and penalised.

from:  Sundara Rajan S
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 23:18 IST

This action by PMK warrants the election commission to de-recognize the party. They have lost the right to be leaders and party. Hope the State and EC take note and take the right action and send a message to others that it will not be tolerated what ever their cause would be.
What was the police doing? Action should be initiated against the Police Commissioner also for delegation of duty.

from:  Thiru Ramanathan
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 22:21 IST

The commitment by PMK to the HC and the subsequent flouting of it, the inflammatory speeches that were made, the caste violence that ensued post this had to be viewed seriously by the Courts. They have to make the PMK responsible for all this (similar to what happened in the Italian Marines case) and make Ramadoss accountable. All the costs towards rehabilitation and restoration of normalcy has to charged to the party and the courts should go even to the level of de-recognising the party for a year or two.

The pity is we have the media (even the likes of THE HINDU) who potray such evil forces as role models by giving media space to Anbumani Ramadoss to lecture us about steps to eliminate casteist feelings and oppressions. Think the media also should act more responsibily.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 18:33 IST

Ridiculous. PMK should be made liable for the damages and disrespecting judiciary and heritage sites. Shame on PMK and its leadership.

from:  Niranjan
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 18:28 IST

This should be made an issue immediately. Officials say same kind of
issue happened last year as well. PMK leaders should be notified and
they should compensate for the damage caused financially and should
assure avoiding further activities like this. TNPD should provide
adequate protection on these occasions. It is always known that
politicians cannot be controlled in Tamil Nadu. A shame that we allowed
this to happen.

from:  Venky
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 16:31 IST

It is incorrect to compare this with Babri incident. The political party which hosted the event which led to this particular incident of people climbing natural heritage monuments is completely responsible for this. The party had given an undertaking to the Madras High Court before this particular event on request for permission for the event. They do not have any kind of respect to Judiciary / Heritage.

from:  Hirain CKK
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 16:05 IST

Whoever says it should be not made as an issue, as it is just an act of uncontrollable joy, can you justify if they had to show their joy on this heritage site? if so how? is a human being supposed to uproot the fence in joy? is he supposed to break the lock of the temple in joy? is he supposed to climb up on to the temple out of joy? whatever it may be a temple or a church or a mosque, whoever does this kind of mischeif, he should be convicted of doing insult to a religion and should be brought to justice.

from:  Raju
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 15:21 IST

It's complete failure of the state police department to protect the
historical monuments and the law & order. First we need better police
to handle these issues as the current issues and communal violence
shows how the police handle them without any interest. While the
states plea was differed and the PMK's request was accepted by the
Madras HC the state govt should have invited the central industrial
security force if they find the state police department as incapable
of handling these situations. Seems no way the state police department
took preemptive steps to stop these incidents in the first place.

from:  PSMAYO
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 14:32 IST

Dragging in Babri Masjid issue is not out of place. Why should anyone climb atop any religious structure, without the permission of the relevant authorities and what is/was the Govt doing in the first place apart from being a spectator? It is for the state Govt to protect any building or monument in the state, even if it is subjudice or disputed. Allowing rowdy elements to inflict damage and then reading some statement in the assembly does not absolve the CM, of all people!

from:  Raghuraman R
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 13:52 IST

Its all of us who should take the blame. Still some people in our society think that these people as worthy people to vote. Best punishment for these people would be to make them loose even deposit in all the places they contest in next election. But unfortunately that can happen only in places like US and Europe where almost all the people are aware of and care about these issues. But not many people here even would know about this news and even if they know, many may not realize the value of these heritage sites in the first place to care about them. Its really unfortunate. When I visited Mahabalipuram last time, I was thinking what measures the government might be taking to preserve them. So many people climbing on already eroding shore temple might have already damage it although may not be evident from outside.

from:  labik
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 13:38 IST

Its disturbing to see illiterate people do that. Cant be marked as emotional.
Its more disturbing to note that the concerned Learned Party leaders not apologizing to the ASI, The State & The Public.
Govt should wait for the yearly function to be over and allow the law to take its course.
This will be a warning to all parties including the ruling and make way for the parties to have control over their cadres.
A country grows by preserving & learning from its History and not by destroying it.

from:  veera
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 13:13 IST

What has happened is mere out of joy for celebration. There was no bad
intention, there was no intention to destroy or harm the temple. Let us
not make a big issue out of this incident. Let the party concerned
tender an apology for what has happened and an undertaking that such
incident will not happen in future.

from:  K.J.Haroon Basha
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 13:09 IST

My question is where are people who are supposed to protect this treasure? Are we not believing governments that it will protect? Thanks to Hindu to at least give me a chance to protest by commenting on it.

from:  Vignesh K
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 12:59 IST

In the absence of national parties this is what you can expect! Mr.Syed Shahal,don't try to give the communal colour. Don't compare Babri structure with this.

from:  C S Sundaresha
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 12:49 IST

The leader should take moral responsibility and give in writing that it will not happen again. May be he can mention what punishment can be meted out if it happens again.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 12:48 IST

Syed Sahul,

How does bringing Babri Masjid here make any sense? Is your argument
that one bunch of hooligans can use another bunch as precedent? If that
were the case no society can ever have social order.

from:  Neel
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 12:47 IST

Would it have been too much for the leadership to quietly pass out instructions on how to behave?

from:  B S Kumar
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 12:37 IST

Sometimes we do see People claims to the top of the temple for maintenance work like whitewash, cleaning the moist from the sea air etc. . . . This is not at all issue.

from:  Selvaraj Subramanian
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 12:36 IST

Sea shore temple at Mamallapuram is the symbol of our culture and civilization which classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Forcibly hoisting party flag and damaging the temple premises is condemnable. Tamil government must take some serious action against PMK.
It’s our fundamental duties to cherish the heritage and preserve its composite culture as mentioned in the constitution.

from:  Abhimanyu
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 12:30 IST

If the state govt can penalise political parties for destroying public property, then they would be justified to do so for vandalising a historical monument.The concerned political party should come out with their explanation to the Tamil people whose culture they claim to protect!

from:  Rajendran
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 12:26 IST

At this time, i like to remind all about Babri Masjid demolition. People claimed it is theirs, they did climb on it disregarding it old and weak structure and even demolished it. Would anyone bother to mention it here?

from:  Syed Shahul
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 12:06 IST

All these party workers should be arrested right away as their photos are available with the police now (since it is published in Hindu now). One can't imagine that a state with stalwarts such as Sivanthi Athithan has to face such events. There is a non bailable warrant isuued against Anbumani Ramadoss in Indore Medical College Scam. A Heritage Monuments Conservation Movement should begin now at a large scale;or else Heritage Sites & temples will be taken over as Offices for political parties.
The famed Kadirgamam Temple in Kandy ,SL has been taken over by Buddhists clergy. If we indulge in such activities people will definitely question the credentials of TNs anxiety of Tamils in SL.

from:  R.Vijay Raghavan
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 12:05 IST

If the PMK men had behaved in the same fashion last year, why did the ASI not learn anything from that incident and instead give the party permission to hold a meeting again this year?

from:  R Narasimhan
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 11:36 IST

PMK should be banned from contesting next elections. Only then will sanity prevail.

from:  Mani Desik
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 11:25 IST

A structure that has stood the test of time and the elements since the 7th century CE, may not survive the violence of the current age. Hope the message that this part sends, of irresponsibility and indifference to a cultural monument of immense importance, is understood by the voter and the party is soundly defeated in the next election.
I also hope the ASI and the Police do something substantial to protect the monument than just pay lip service year after year.
All that is left in the Glory of India is in the past, as we are struggling to develop in the present, but it is precisely this that we are working so hard to destroy.
Forces like the PMK are hate mongers, who should be kept out of the legislature. What India needs is unity of thought and action, not sectarian and racial ideas. Our narrow mindedness has always been our down fall, proof is the 3000 year history of India.

from:  Guruprasad
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 11:15 IST

This is outrageous. Rape of culture, heritage,knowledge and the glory
of an illustrious era.
Caste-based outfits should be banned and the election commission of
India should not recognize them as political parties.An all-party
assembly committee should undertake an independent evaluation of the
damages and the responsibility for the same should be fixed at the
highest levels of PMK. With the Dharmapuri wounds yet to heal, it is
disappointing that the state gov was not proactive in preventing this
disgusting hooliganism by provision of adequate security and
patrolling.

from:  prakash
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 11:14 IST

It is extremely important for the TN government to let the full force
of law bare its fangs against the perpetrators. Better to nip such kind
of politics in the bud. Lest, TN runs the risk of going down the path
of a few other Indian states where public violence has become a regular
part of the political culture and the leaders who indulge in such acts,
over time grow so "big" that no law can reach them

from:  Sankara
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 11:10 IST

It is disgusting to see how uncivilized we people are even. The very own people that claim to have had civilization flourishing at times while the whole world was in the woods are the most uncivilized now. At least the party leaders should have instructed their carders to respect the monumental structure. The father, son duo who are medical doctors seems to have not ethics at all playing dirty caste politics, adding to that is their party point man "Kaduvetti Guru". Listening to his speech on the stage was so appalling. It makes one think if we really are going forward in our "democracy" as we seems to have no political, public or civic decency or responsibility. These are the people aspiring to capture power in 2016 and I can't imagine what will be the condition of our state if that ever happens. Not that it is better now or other political parties are any better, but PMK is openly playing caste politics when the systems should be abolished. God help and save us!

from:  Kumaresan
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 10:56 IST

highly surprised as to why Dravida Kazhagam(DK) is maintaining a stoic
silence in this issue. The party which was formed fundamentally to fight
against this sort of acts has not even organized a rally to support
Dalits leave alone going on rampage which they are famous for. Times
have truly changed. It is all posturing now a days !! No party has any
ideology.

from:  Ganesh
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 10:48 IST

The ASI is not a security organization, nor can the police always provide security. In a nation of billion+ population, the violent
hooliganistic crowds, fueled by ideology, hatred or any other passion can and will
always overwhelm the meagre security that ASI has at its disposal. When there is no public decorum our nation will go through such mindless ordeals.

from:  G Parameswaran
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 10:43 IST

PMK should be ashamed of such behaviour and should apologize and pay for the
damages caused. The police should question their own role in this ruckus and the
silent authorities should be singled and suspended.

from:  Srini
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 10:40 IST

Here ASI and district administration are not to be blamed but only the
common people. Since, neighter the permission was granted to host
conference within the world heritage premises nor these types of callous
act could be foreseen by district administration.
The only thing lacking here is, the feeling and proud of being a part of
world's oldest and pioneering culture and civilization. These historical
monuments are not only symbols of unity, knowledge, art but also of
great devotion and discipline, for which we are respected in the world
and now onus is on us to pass it to our future generations. On the verge
of losing all this, we should uphold our culture by respecting it and
having a sense of Indianess.

from:  Prakash Dhyani
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 10:32 IST

This is so shameful! These guys do not realize that this monument is so
fragile. They did it last year also. Can we make sure they do not do it
next year ? When I confronted PMK on their Facebook Page, they said this temple was
built by their great grand fathers and I have no right to question them.

from:  Purnendu
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 10:27 IST

The police and the ASI should have foreseen this situation. Why, in the
first place, permission was given to hold a meeting at Mamallapuram, one
of the World Heritage Sites? Wasn't there any other place to hold such a
meeting? Not only PMK, known for their notorious behavior, all party
members would have behaved in the same manner if their party meeting
would have been held there. Better not to provide permission to hold
meetings at such places of cultural importance.

from:  Arun Vijay
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 09:54 IST

This incident of men atop of the centuries old heritage structure is a display of disrespect not only to a temple but to the our very civilization. A temple that has survived years of nature's onslaught may not be able to withstand the acts of the mean men who decide to use this temple to hoist their flags.

from:  gladston
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 09:52 IST

CM should issue orders to arrest the rogues responsible for this

from:  Ranjeeth
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 09:39 IST

UNESCO mentioned the Mahabalipuram site itself as World Heritage site. Here party 'workers' are climbing atop the same and the CM is reading out some statement in the assembly that they are vandalizing a World Heritage site! The CM further states that they are in inebriated condition. The moment they enter the premises in such 'condition', shouldnt they be put in jail? What purpose does it serve to read some statement? I am reminded of the show in Ayodhya when the CM read some statement that 'some people' have climbed atop the structure and expessed his 'helplessness'

from:  Raghuraman R
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 09:38 IST

PMK is fast losing its relevance among voters and Ramadoss is trying to revive it by making incendinary speeches and inciting hatred against dalits.God save TN if we have such backward anti-intellctual parties seeking popular mandate.

from:  Aswin
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 09:36 IST

they don't have respect for anyone/anything.. shameful politicians

from:  sivaraj
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 09:21 IST

the politics and politicians who cannot protect our cultural monuments
and heritage are curse to the country.

from:  RANJEET
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 09:16 IST

Editor,

What a shame. This is a World Heritage site and one of the wonders of
India. People from all over the world throng to see this monument. I
am greatly pained to see such acts of vandalism. These people are
utterly barbaric and belong to an island in the middle of nowhere. I
feel like living in the age of savages ... perhaps even worst.

from:  Ramkumar
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 02:25 IST

If the army is not called for such an emergency, then what is the duty of the national guardians? Such a thing can only happen in India. Every day, the accusation of India being a banana republic gets truer. If the Chief Minister of a state cannot stop such an atrocity, then what is the role of the Government. The CM had said that the State Govt had not given permission to hold the gathering. This is a sad state of affairs.

from:  Dinakaran
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 01:34 IST

Round them up and put them behind bars.. the photograph is ample evidence. Nothing else is needed to punish Dr. ayya and his ilk. They're nothing but a shame to our society and country.

from:  Gautham
Posted on: Apr 30, 2013 at 00:38 IST
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