Malappuram temple courts controversy over fresh coat of paint

Activists of Hindu Aikya Vedi raised a banner of protest when the temple administration painted the walls of a hall adjacent to the temple in green and white

March 22, 2023 09:07 pm | Updated 09:19 pm IST - MALAPPURAM

A worker repainting the green wall of a building adjacent to Thirumandhamkunnu Temple at Angadipuram in Malappuram in ivory.

A worker repainting the green wall of a building adjacent to Thirumandhamkunnu Temple at Angadipuram in Malappuram in ivory. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Thirumanthamkunnu Bhagavathy Temple at Angadipuram, one of the famous temples in the district, was in the thick of a controversy over a coat of painting it had last week.

Activists of the Hindu Aikya Vedi raised a banner of protest when the temple administration painted the walls of a hall adjacent to the temple in green and white. What provoked the Hindu activists led by K.P. Sasikala was the colour green.

The protest spilled over to social media, and people with rather extreme views started accusing the Malabar Devaswom Board, under which the temple functions, of hurting the Hindu sentiments and “playing into the hands of Islamists” by choosing green.

The Malabar Devaswom Board, apparently wanting to avoid a showdown over the issue, repainted the building in ivory soon after the Hindu Aikya Vedi submitted a complaint. Ms. Sasikala had even threatened to lead a group of volunteers to change the colour green if the temple authorities did not heed.

Although it changed the colour, the Malabar Devaswom Board criticised the intolerance being maintained by Hindu activists to the colour green. “What is wrong in a colour? It was already green. When repainted, it became bright,” said M.R. Murali, president of the board.

Devaswom board officials alleged that the Hindu Aikya Vedi activists had created an unnecessary controversy by blowing up a non-issue. The officials said the intolerant views aired by the Hindu Aikya Vedi would leave doubts and confusions among the minds of the people. They said that people who were bigots were looking for some silly reasons to defame the temple.

Ms. Sasikala and her followers also questioned the propriety of having Muslims in the Thirumandhamkunnu temple committee. However, this allegation was brushed aside as baseless by the Malabar Devaswom Board.

According to Mr. Murali, people’s representatives from the region were included in the committee by default and some of them were Muslims. He said they were part of the committee formed for the smooth conduct of the temple festival, adding that changing them or removing them from the committee was out of the question.

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