Hindu Munnani activists detained by police in Vadapalani

  • BJP stages an `anga pradakshanam' to highlight issue
  • Site falls under the `Dry Natham Urani: official

    CHENNAI: Protests are growing over the alleged encroachments on temple lands under the Sri Santhanayagi Sametha Sri Vengeeswaran Temple at Vadapalani on Jawaharlal Nehru Road.

    On Wednesday, members of the Hindu Munnani, led by H. Raja, the BJP State Vice President, held an `anga pradakshanam' to highlight the issue.

    Police arrested 34 persons including Durai Shankar, State General Secretary of the Hindu Munnani and Y.S. Kannan, co-ordinator of the Temple Tanks Reclamation Committee. They were kept in police custody at the Jain Hall near the temple and later released on bail. Mr. Shankar said the protest was against the encroachments of the temple lands, which have been recorded in the Town Survey Register as a Grama Natham Sivan Koil Urani.

    Mr. Kannan said that in 1987 and later in 1994, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) issued circulars stating that barricades had to be put around the temple tank area to prevent encroachments. The notification said that as per the High Court's orders, no construction or related activities should be done on the temple lands.

    A senior HR and CE official said that the problem around the temple was not a new one. People who have sought exemptions under Section 9 of the City Tenants Protection Act, which is now exempt for the HR and CE, purchased lands around 10 years ago and a case regarding this is pending in the High Court.

    Following complaints against the hereditary trustee, the HR and CE appointed a `fit person,' to administer the temple.

    A civil suit was filed in 1988. The HR and CE later went to court to nullify the lease and the court ordered that there should be no further construction.

    Notice issued

    The HR and CE issued a notice on Tuesday saying there should be no construction, warning that it would take severe disciplinary action as it amounted to contempt of court.

    A note was also sent to the Police Department not to allow the `anga pradakshanam,' as the matter was pending in the High Court.

    The official said that as the village site fell under the `Dry Natham Urani,' category, the Revenue Department could take it over and initiate action against the encroachers.