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HC grants advance bail to Dikshitar

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Priest required to stay in Rameswaram for 15 days

The Madras High Court on Tuesday granted anticipatory bail to Nataraj Ganesh alias Dharsan, the hereditary Dikshitar (priest) of the Natarajar Temple in Chidambaram, in a case booked against him for having allegedly assaulted and abused a woman devotee when she insisted on performing puja properly.

Justice N. Seshasayee granted the relief on condition that he stayed in Rameswaram for 15 days.

The advance bail was granted despite the complainant, S. Latha, having filed an intervening petition before the High Court insisting upon the priest getting arrested for the alleged offence.

According to the prosecution, the complainant, a nurse serving in a primary health centre in Ayyankudi, visited the temple along with her family on November 16 to perform puja in view of her son’s birthday.

However, the Dikshitar, in a hurry to go home, did not even utter the name of her son before chanting the mantras. When she questioned him about it, he reportedly slapped the woman.

Acting on her complaint, the police booked a case under Sections 323 (causing hurt voluntarily) and 294b (using obscene words) of Indian Penal Code.

They also invoked the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Women Harassment Act of 1998.

Denying all allegations levelled against him, the petitioner claimed that the complainant woman had come to the temple along with some men and picked up a quarrel when he was performing the last puja of the day before closing the temple.

She also insisted that the puja in the name of her son should be performed once again because she did not hear the priest recite the mantras.

When the petitioner refused to repeat the puja, she tried to “raised her hand towards this petitioner and in self-defence, the petitioner pushed her away from him,” the Dikshitar claimed.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 7:57:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/hc-grants-advance-bail-to-dikshitar/article30153827.ece

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