Tamil Nadu

Temple priest in Chidambaram fears arrest in assault case, files second anticipatory bail petition


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

Justice C.V. Karthikeyan on Wednesday directed a government counsel to obtain instructions from the Chidambaram Town police and adjourned the petition to December 3.

The priest’s first advance bail petition was dismissed as withdrawn on Monday for not mentioning the crime number. Therefore, he preferred the second petition with identical averments.

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

However, the Dikshitar, in a hurry to go home, allegedly 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.

Complainant’s stand

Denying all the allegations, the petitioner claimed that the complainant 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 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,” the Dikshitar claimed.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 8:31:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/temple-priest-in-chidambaram-fears-arrest-in-assault-case-files-second-anticipatory-bail-petition/article30100812.ece

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