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The Hindu

Govt. revokes ban on palanquin-bearing ceremony of Adheenam

Ending a stand-off with the Dharmapuram Adheenam, which threatened to escalate into a religious row, the Tamil Nadu government on Sunday revoked the ban on ‘Pattina Pravesam’, a ceremony in which the head of the Adheenam is carried on a palanquin.

Over 10 days ago, the Mayiladuthurai Revenue Divisional Officer banned the ceremony, citing “human rights violation” in the practice. This triggered an outcry from votaries of the “centuries-old tradition”.

In an order issued on Sunday, the RDO said that in view of a representation, dated May 7, submitted by the manager of the Adheenam, the ban order, dated April 27, was being withdrawn.

On Saturday, a delegation of pontiffs from different Adheenams and mutts called on Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and urged him to permit the ceremony.

Inquiries revealed that the Adheenam, in its representation (including those of devotees), contended that the practice must not be construed as “men carrying man”. The ‘veedigal’ (streets) on which the ‘Pattina Pravesam’ has been planned belongs to the mutt. Also ‘Iraivan Pathaigal Sumappavargal’ (people bearing the palanquin), who are regarded as ‘Sripatham Thangigal’ down generations, are essentially devotees.

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has permitted ‘Pattina Pravesam’ of the mutt on May 22, acknowledging the significance of the tradition followed for over 500 years, according to the devotees who had submitted the petition to the government on behalf of the mutt.

Earlier in the day, the seer of Dharmapuram Aadheenam said the Chief Minister had permitted ‘Pattina Pravesam’, “acknowledging significance of the tradition”.

In deference to the stress laid by a delegation of pontiffs across the State on revoking the ban, the Chief Minister had, on Saturday night, accorded his consent for the event, Sri La Sri Masilamani Desiga Gananasambanda Paramacharya Swamigal said at an interaction with journalists.

On the sidelines of the Kumbabishegam of the Uthavedeeswarar temple at Kuthalam, which is managed by the Dharmapuram Adheenam, the 27th Gurumahasannidhanam also showered his “blessings” on the Chief Minister, and appreciated the initiative taken by Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments P.K. Sekar Babu to resolve the issue.

Accompanied by the 24th Gurumahasannidhanam of Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam, Sri La Sri Ambalavana Desiga Paramacharya Swamigal; Sengol Adheenam; and Thondaimandala Adheenam, the ‘Adheenakartar’ of the Dharmapuram Adheenam said the government had taken a consistent stand in following matters of tradition. “Devotees carry the palanquin of own volition after ‘penance’. There is no question of human rights violation,” he contended.

Tamil Maanila Congress (M) leader G.K. Vasan said people had eagerly anticipated the revocation of the ban. The TMC’s view was that the people of Tamil Nadu would never accept those who did not accept spiritualism and those who politicised spiritualism, he said.