MGR to pave way for Vinayagar?

Chennai, Feb 22: In what is said to be a good news for the devotees of Arulmigu Varasakthi Vinayagar Temple at Pillayar Koil Street, Nesapakkam, the Madras High Court has asked the Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner to inspect the statue of former Chief Minister M G Ramachandran installed in front of the temple blocking the free view of the deity.

According to agama rules, the temple entrance, rajagopuram, the powerful flag mast and Vinayagar idol are in a single line. But, the MGR statue hides this view, devotees said.

Sources said the temple is 275 years old and in 2014, the renovation work was taken up and in 2017, the fifth kumbabishekam was performed grandly.

Talking about the political party leaders’ statues and party flags in front of the temple premises, sources said, ”Earlier, when the temple was small, devotees and temple authorities did not give much importance to these flags and statues. When the temple was renovated and the basement was raised to six feet, the presence of the political flags and statues became an eyesore.”

When the renovation work was taken up in 2014, the temple authorities met the party leaders of the area and petitioned them to remove the statues as they were installed on private land. Based on the request, the Kamarajar statue and a few party flags were removed. In 2019, the statue of Annadurai was also removed. However, M G Ramachandran statue remained.

The temple authorities requested the partymen to shift MGR statue, but there was no response, it is said. Later, they sent letters to Chief Minister’s Cell, Governor and Corporation. The civic body in its reply said it would lead to law and order problem, temple authorities said.

With no other option, the temple treasurer M Gopal on behalf of the devotees filed a public interest litigation in the Madras High Court.

When the case came up for hearing 17 February, a Division Bench comprising Justice M Sathyanarayanan and R Hemalaltha directed the Corporation Commissioner to visit the temple and submit a report. The court adjourned the case to 10 March.

The court also came down heavily on Corporation officials for not acting on the petition submitted by the temple authorities, sources said.

Karthikeyan Halan