TAMIL NADU

Karunanidhi writes to Centre against ASI move

CHENNAI Nov. 13. The DMK president, M.Karunanidhi, has requested the Prime Minister, A.B.Vajpayee, to direct the Archaeological Survey of India not to take over the Arunachaleswarar temple at Tiruvannamalai "to safeguard the interests of lakhs of devotees and thousands of merchants''.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr. Karunanidhi said the ASI proposal had become a popular issue, provoking protests from all walks of life.

`PM must intervene'

Our Pondicherry Staff Reporter reports: Swami Omkarananda, founder of the Omkara Ashram in Pondicherry, has called upon the President and the Prime Minister to prevent the ASI from going ahead with its ``ill- conceived and disastrous move'' to take over the Arunachaleswarar temple.

In a communication today, he referred to the spiritual significance of the Tiruvannamalai shrine and said the ASI plan would only put devotees to ``avoidable inconvenience''.

Swami Omkarananda said it should be clarified whether the ASI had made any deep and dispassionate study of the implications of its move.

The ASI would not be able to protect the spiritual features of the shrine and its unique ambience.

The pride and glory of the `sannidhanam` would be obliterated by ASI activities.

The President and the Prime Minister should intervene immediately in the larger interests of the temple and the devotees, Swami Omkarananda.

He was making the appeal on behalf of the lakhs of people visiting the shrine for `Giri Valam' and on other occasions.

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