by Muslim Mirror Staff
The Madras High Court made a striking remark on Friday, suggesting that shutting down temples may be a viable solution if they become the cause for violence. The observation came during the hearing of a dispute between two religious groups over a temple festival, which often serves as a platform for displaying dominance and power.
Justice Anand Venkatesh, presiding over the case, raised concerns over religious groups exploiting temple festivals as an opportunity to exhibit their clout, leading to potential clashes and law and order issues.
“There is no devotion involved in conducting these festivals and rather it has become a show of strength by one group or the other,” the judge said, according to Live Law.
The court’s statement came to light during the dismissal of a plea for police protection for a week-long festival scheduled to take place at the Sri Ruthra Maha Kaliyamman Alayam temple in Mayiladuthurai city, Tamil Nadu.
The petitioner, K Thangarasu, claiming to be the hereditary trustee of the temple, sought police protection for the upcoming festival, citing fears of untoward incidents. However, the Tamil Nadu government presented a contrary view, highlighting an ongoing dispute between two rival groups vying for the privilege of placing the idol inside the temple during the festival. Despite efforts by a peace committee to mediate, the state government expressed concerns that holding the festival could lead to potential law and order problems, arguing that neither group should be allowed to place the idol.
In its judgment, the Madras High Court emphasized that the primary function of the police should not be tied up in resolving disputes between rival groups within a temple. Justice Venkatesh asserted that the police have more critical responsibilities to attend to, and their valuable time and energy should not be wasted in such conflicts.
Taking a bold stance, the court suggested that closing down temples might be a prudent step if they become hotbeds of violence due to festering disputes among religious factions. The proposition aims to discourage the misuse of temple festivals and their subsequent impact on public safety.
“If temples are going to perpetuate violence, the existence of temples will have no meaning and in all such cases, it would be better to close down those temples so that the violence can be averted,” Justice Venkatesh remarked.