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TN Government Refutes Sitharaman’s “Anti-Ram Anti-Hindu” Charge

TN Government Refutes Sitharaman’s “Anti-Ram Anti-Hindu” Charge

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Jan 21: The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday strongly refuted the union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s accusation that the DMK government in the state had banned live streaming of the “Pran Pratishtha” ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya and was preventing even the privately held Ram temples in the southern state from celebrating the event.

Ms Sitharaman sharply criticised the DMK government over the reports in a section of the press of its alleged decision to ban live streaming of the worship being performed at the new Ram temple. Declaring that there were more than 200 temples dedicated to Lord Ram in Tamil Nadu, Ms Sitharaman said the police were stopping privately held temples also from organising events.
“They are threatening organisers that they will rip off pandals. Strongly condemn this anti-Hindu, hateful action,” she said in a post on X and enclosed the news clipping. Her post on X was slammed by the state government, which accused the BJP of trying to “divert attention” from the DMK youth conference in Salem scheduled for the day.

Promptly denying the newspaper report which claimed that oral instructions were issued by the government barring special pujas and serving free food in the name of Ram in temples, the Tamil Nadu government called it a “motivated report to bring disrepute to the state government.” The government has said it would take legal action against the newspaper.

In a press release, the state government added that under MK Stalin’s rule, the HR & CE department has held “consecration of 1,270 temples,” served free food daily in 764 temples. It has also restored 197 ancient temples, many of which are a thousand years old, at a cost of nearly 300 crores.” “Hindu believers in Tamil Nadu know this, even the opposition can’t deny,” it added.

“The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department hasn’t imposed any limitations of devotees’ freedom to offer food, conduct poojas in the name of Shri Ram or provide prasad in Tamil Nadu temples,” the HR&CE minister PK Sekar Babu, said in a post on X. “It is unfortunate that people in such high office, like Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and others, are purposefully propagating this erroneous information, the statement read.

According to officials, temples including the Erikatharamar Temple in Maduranthakam and Sri Kothandaramaswamy temple in Ayodhyapattanam in Salem district have lined up special pujas. At Madhuranthakam, special puja will be held and prasadam will be distributed. At the Salem temple, where Lord Rama is seen seated in Pattabhishekam pose with Sita Devi, Lakshmana and Hanuman, after the Puja, bhajans will be held.

“These are internal matters of temples in which the department does not interfere,” officials said. Officials have only been orally instructed not to permit viewing any programme on TV inside the temple premises. “This could lead to unnecessary complications and also disturb other devotees in the temple,” said the official source.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi – who is in Tamil Nadu on Sunday – will be in Ayodhya on Monday where he would participate in the consecration of the new Ram Temple. The mega event will be attended by more than 6,000 people, including politicians and celebrities. Mr Modi offered prayers at several temples in Tamil Nadu during the day.

 

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