Chennai

Kanchi residents protest against movement restrictions

Many say they are unable to leave their house; question Collector’s order restricting access to shrine

Residents of Mada Streets around Sri Devarajaswamy Temple in Kancheepuram claim that they are denied the right to move out of their homes by police personnel stationed there for the Athi Varadar festival.

On Monday night a section of residents staged a protest.

T. C. Srinivasan, advocate and South Mada Street resident, said over 250 families were living around the temple and the streets were filled with police and government vehicles and thousands of people visiting the temple.

‘Police terrorise us’

“We are used to the crowds during festivals but this is totally different. The police are terrorising us. We don’t get newspaper or milk, elders are unable to step out to buy medicines and many children have not been able to go to school. The police threaten us,” he said.

R. Mukundan, another resident, said the police did not allow their vehicles to enter or exit their homes.

“We need to get to work or buy essentials, even stepping out to a nearby shop is questioned by the police. They ask us why we are going out so many times. We are no threat to the festival or to the visitors. In fact, the people of Kancheepuram are very friendly. During the organising of the festival, local residents were not consulted.”

Dos and don’ts

“We were not informed about the dos and don’ts. Only one pass was issued by the police to a family and we cannot go out without the pass,” he said.

Devotees are also angry over the decision of the Kancheepuram district administration to not allow devotees to have darshan of Sri Devarajaswamy and Perundevi Thaayar.

Secular authority

“The Collector is a secular authority. How can he ask the temple to close down the shrine? According to the Temple Entry Act, nobody has the right to prevent entry of devotees or even change the entry point to a temple. For five days now, we have been denied the opportunity to have darshan of the Lord,” Mr. Srinivasan added.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 4:01:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/kanchi-residents-protest-against-movement-restrictions/article28693150.ece

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