Madurai

‘Vaigai festival will erode secular fabric of Madurai’

Vaigai for all: Members of various organisations staging a demonstration at Madurai Collectorate on Monday against Vaigai Peru Vizha.

Vaigai for all: Members of various organisations staging a demonstration at Madurai Collectorate on Monday against Vaigai Peru Vizha.  

The ‘Vaigai Peru Vizha’ planned for July 24 here will erode the secular fabric of the city, according to members of eight organisations who came together to oppose the event organised by Akhila Bharatiya Thuraviyar Sangam.

State organiser of People’s Rights Protection Movement S. Vanchinathan said that Vaigai river was an entity devoid of religion. People across religion and caste groups use the river for their daily needs, he said. The 10-day event, planned to bring rainfall, was unconstitutional, he added.

“Who gave a particular group the right to conduct the event. What is their hidden agenda?” he asked.

Mr. Vanchinathan also said that if thousands of people gather at the river over a period of 10 days, the river would be abused and spoiled. “If the Vaigai at least had water, the damage could be minimised. But now that the river is dry, who will clean up after the saints?” he asked.

Mr. Vanchinathan pointed that the Supreme Court had come down heavily on the organisers of a similar event held on the banks of the Yamuna by a religious head.

National secretary of People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) R. Murali said that Madurai celebrated several river-related festivals such as the Chithirai festival where Lord Kallazhagar enters the river. “The Vaigai Peru Vizha seems politically motivated. The organisers are mobilising students, teachers and educational institutions to take part in the event. That will disturb the secular feeling existing among the public,” he said.

Mr. Vanchinathan said Muslims were being projected as an enemy through this festival.

Lawyers’ forums of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Dravida Kazhagam, Centre for the Protection of Civil Liberties and Makkal Adigaram also joined hands against the event.

When the group petitioned Collector T.S. Rajasekar at the weekly grievance day meeting, he assured them that he would look into the matter.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 5:09:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/vaigai-festival-will-erode-secular-fabric-of-madurai/article28667570.ece

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