Chennai

HC to hear PIL petition for better facilities at Sri Devarajaswamy temple

Drinking water, toilets, and other basic amenities were lacking, says the petitioner.

Drinking water, toilets, and other basic amenities were lacking, says the petitioner.  

Petitioner says officials ill-prepared to handle the huge crowd that gathers every day

The Madras High Court is all set to hear on Wednesday a public interest litigation petition seeking a direction to the State government as well as the Kancheepuram district administration to regulate the lakhs of devotees thronging Sri Devarajaswamy temple to worship a fig wood idol of Lord Varadaraja Perumal, popularly known as Athi Varadar, which is taken out of the temple tank once every 40 years.

Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad will hear the PIL petition filed by A. Radhakrishnan, 41, of Kannankurichi in Salem district.

In his affidavit, the petitioner said the Athi Varadar idol was last taken out of the temple tank in July 1979. It had remained immersed for the last four decades, until it was taken out recently for worship during a festival spanning 48 days, between July 1 and August 17.

During these days, the idol is kept for public worship but the crowd was so huge that four devotees died on July 18, he said. “The incident reportedly occurred following rumours that the authorities were planning to cut short the darshan timings. People standing in queue in a narrow line became impatient and started to push in a bid to move forward. It resulted in a stampede and casualties,” the petitioner’s affidavit read.

High-profile visitors

Alleging that the district administration was ill-prepared to handle the huge crowd, estimated at one lakh devotees every day, the petitioner pointed out that even high dignitaries such as the President and the Governor had evinced interest in worshipping the deity.

Facilities like drinking water, toilets, vehicle parking and other basic requirements were lacking at the spot, he claimed.

Mr. Radhakrishnan said he had made a representation to the officials concerned on Saturday, requesting them to establish medical camps at the spot besides requisitioning the services of additional central paramilitary forces to handle the crowd.

Also, a request was made to erect sufficient number of sign boards with emergency contact numbers and ensure the safety of women, senior citizens and the physically challenged.

Stating that the officials were yet to act upon his representation, the petitioner sought a direction from the court so that better facilities could be provided to the devotees till August 17.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 7:45:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/hc-to-hear-pil-petition-for-better-facilities-at-sri-devarajaswamy-temple/article28693133.ece

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