The decision of the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu to not allow Vinayagar (Ganesha) procession even with all safety measures and social distancing norms, will result in loss of idols worth 100 crores and will also render hundreds of families without a source of income.
“Come what may. We will celebrate Vinayagar procession’ thundered Hindu Munnani founder Ramagopalan. Hindu organisation echoed the same spirit while condemning the Edapadi Palanisamy government’s decision to ban the event.
The AIADMK government since April this year has been denying permissions to conduct annual festivals in Hindu temples which had invited the wrath of Hindus. It is literally raining on minorities in the state which is going to assembly polls next year.” It is for the minority, of the minorities “ is the apt description.
In this background, Hindu outfits like Hindu Munnani, VHP, Indu Makkal Katchi are gearing to celebrate the Vinayagar Chathurthi fest which falls on 22nd August with usual pomp and festivity with a hope lock down norms would be relaxed and government would allow it. They have been representing the government to permit them to install and take out the process of Vinayagar idols. But on 13th August the state government announced that it would not allow Vinayagar Chathurthi procession in view of the Corona pandemic. This led to yet another standoff between Hindu orgs and AIADMK government. In a release the TN government said that it had decided not to allow installation of Vinayakar Idols in public places and procession or immersion of the same in water bodies to prevent spread of the virus.
Hindu Munnani founder Ramagopalan categorically said the festival would be organized this year without fail. Whatever may be the consequences. We would not be cowed down by such moves. Hindus are ready. We will not give up. We stick to our stand. On no account we would stay away from organising the festival” he said in a video message. Hindu Munnani state president Kadeswara Subramaniam said the government has done injustice to Hindus.
"As planned we will put 1.5 lakh idols this year. We condemn the government's announcements. All along following government rules we have been celebrating it without any violation. On 5th August in a meeting convened by the government we have made stand clear and will follow restrictions if any imposed. Government went up to SC seeking permission to open liquor shops and publicly showed its strong intentions. The same government gave rice for Ramdan and 40 sandalwood logs to Nagore dargah festival. SP and Collector sat in the press meet addressed by the Bishop to announce Panimaya Madha annual festival. Hindus knew how the government prevents Hindu temples to hold festivals and poojas.", he said.
He explained further that they have requested the government to allow them to conduct the Vinayagar festival with riders. But the government has taken anti-Hindu stance and banned installation and immersion of idols.
"Hindus too have religious rights as enshrined in statute like minorities. We make it clear that on 22nd we will install 1.5 lakh idols. The state government’s decision was unwarranted”. Subramaniam said “ “we told a maximum of five members would take the idols for immersion and agreed to strictly follow prohibitory orders ensuring no large congregation of public. But the government ignored our pleas and imposed a ban.TN government relaxed rules for Muslims to celebrate Eid-id-adaha (Bakrid) and Christians to celebrate their festivals. But it is not extending the same support to Hindus'' he said.
State vice president of Hindu Munnani VP Jayakumar said the state government is planning to destabilize the festival with the help of police. He said police threaten the potters or clay idol makers not make them. This would affect their livelihood.” If anything happens to the organizers of the Vinayagar Chathurthi festival, CM Edapadi Palanisamy would be responsible for the same” he warns.
State BJP chief L Murugan said that when the Tamil Nadu government opens TASMAC outlets, why won't it allow the Vinaygar Chathurthi festival, which has been celebrated in a grand manner in Tamil Nadu for the last 36 years.
Senior journalist Senkottai Sriram cites GO no.598 issued by the Public Department, dated 9th August 2018 prohibiting the ban of installing Vinayagar statues. “ Upon moving, we got some relaxation. Now they are blaming Corona. Devotees will never violate social distancing norms and there will be a lesser crowd. They can restrict the number of people taking part in immersion procession. Banning installation is not a wise decision”, he explained.
Indu Makkal Katchi in a release said “Covid 19 virus emanated from China and spread by Tablighe Jamaat is yet to receive subsidies. People are cooperating with the government to contain the spread. Citing financial crunch, it had opened liquor shops. It is one of the sources for the spread of the pandemic but not to allow temples to open and do poojas but Churches and mosques were given relaxations. In Tamil Nadu, Vinayagar idols have been installed during the past 35 years. This year it banned the festival due to Corona. Even by installing idols the government will get revenue. If the government solely depends on the liquor sales, then it can stock liquor bottles on streets and allow people to pray for them” .
Tenkasi unit of the Hindu Munnani has petitioned the DSP to extend cooperation in organizing Vinayagar festival.
Talking to Organiser, Senior journalist Sridharan listed out the appeasement measures by the present Dravidian rulers. “ Muslims were treated with utmost care when affected by Covid 19, government gave 5,450 ton rice free to 2,895 mosques for Ramdan, freely allowed them to gather violating social distancing norms to get their quota of porridge, turned blind eye when they assembled in hundreds and thousands to do namaz for Ramdan and Bakrid. Even lock down days in Thoothukudi church festival was allowed to be conducted and the district collector and SP shared the dais with Church administration," he pointed out.
Sridharan said “ Hindu temples were not extended such privileges. The government not bothered the plight of migrant workers but arranged special flight to bring home stranded over 1,000 Muslims in Delhi after attending Tablighe Jamaat meet. Keeping vote bank politics, the successive Dravidian governments indulged in doling out largesse to minorities in all possible means. Right from scholarships to monthly remuneration to kazis, Islamic preachers, funding their mecca pilgrimage, church and mosque maintenance ( 5 cr per annum) and no-interference policy in mosque and church administration”.
He recalled “ last week, police arrested five people for violating lock down norms for organizing temple festival and taking the deity on procession. Stalin greeted Muslims people on Bakrid but did not condemn Skanda Sashti Kavasam was insulted. The government has filed a case against former BJP MLA and actor S.Ve. Shekar (under section 2 of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act 1971). It also charged him of making certain objectionable remarks with the criminal intent of spreading misinformation against TN Chief Minister. It did not show the same speed and allowed Sundaravalli, Veeramanis, Durai Murugans and Karuppar Kootams to make anti- Hindu, anti- national and anti-religious remarks. Even the PM was not spared”.