The Hindu groups put up a massive protest in Tirupur on Wednesday after local AIADMK MLA S Gunasekaran organised a public hearing with the illegal squatters who had bought temple lands, reports Times of India.
According to the reports, a public hearing was organised by Tirupur south AIADMK MLA S Gunasekaran to address the problems of those people who bought temple lands illegally. The meeting was cancelled on Wednesday after Hindu groups such as Hindu Munnani and Shiv Sena objected to such a hearing.
A controversy had erupted after more than 500 families had occupied lands across the 20 acres of temple lands spread over Karuvampalayam, Sheriff Colony, LRG Layout, Senguthapuram, Mullai Nagar, Palayakadu, KVR Nagar, Chellam Nagar, Ayyan Nagar, Dhanlakshmi Layout and Alangadu. The lands belong to Visweswaraswamy and Veeraraghava Perumal temple in Tirupur and Visweswaraswamy Visalatchi Amman Subramanyaswamy temple at Nallur.
Reportedly, the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) department claimed that more than 500 families occupied the lands, which may have been sold to these squatters fraudulently by former managing trustees of the temples fifty years ago.
To discuss the issue, the local MLA had called a meeting at a marriage hall at KNP Colony on Dharapuram Road. He said that while the land was sold fraudulently to the occupants, most people had brought it with their hard earned money. The buyers were unaware that the land was disputed he said. However, following the Madras High Court intervention in 2013, their ownership rights were revoked. “They are just occupants now,” he said.
JS Kishore Kumar, the general secretary of Hindu Munnani said they had been voicing to safeguard the temple lands. He said that the government wants to provide the land to illegal occupants without punishing those responsible for selling and transferring the ownership of the land illegally.
In a controversial decision, the Tamil Nadu government in October had determined to give away thousands of acres of Temple land to illegal squatters. The Madras High Court had come down heavily on Tamil Nadu government for helping illegal squatters by giving them temple land.
The Tamil Nadu government had filed a counter-affidavit in High Court categorically stating that it had decided to give patta to illegal squatters on the temple lands. According to the affidavit, the government will give patta to the poor families who have been squatting on temple lands for a ‘considerable period of time’ after compensating the department for the land.
Even though the Tamil Nadu government had said that the poor squatters will be given a patta, it had not yet outlined the criteria it will apply to grant patta to the illegal squatters.
The most worrying aspect of this entire affidavit filed by the Tamil Nadu government stating that it will possess the absolute power to decide which temple land should be given away to squatters, while the Tamil Nadu govt compensates itself for the land, without even considering the Temple itself as a stakeholder in the decision making the process.