A petition was filed before the Madras High Court pertaining to the conduct of temple processions through a Muslim-dominated locality at V Kalathur in the district of Perambalur in Tamil Nadu, reported news agency PTI.
Reportedly, some local Muslims in the area have been objecting to the conduct of Hindu processions since 2012. The community had dubbed the Hindu festivals as ‘sins’. The petitioner had therefore approached the police for providing protection during the conduct of rituals and processions. The same was provided by the law ernforcement authorities with restrictions.
When the matter came up for hearing before the Madras High Court, a 2-Judge Bench of N Kirubakarn and P Velmurugan noted that religious intolerance is detrimental to the secular fabric of the country. The Court noted that if such a ‘resistance’ to the conduct of religious festivals is reciprocated by another religious group, it might lead to riots and chaos.
While reading out the affidavit presented by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, the Madras High Court observed that objection to temple processions was raised from 2012 onwards. The Judges observed how no such problem existed prior to 2012. The Court pointed out how objections were raised by the Muslim community despite the Court granting permission to the Hindus to carry out temple processions (in accordance with Section 180A of the District Municipalities Act 1920).
Observations made by Madras High Court
The Madras High Court remarked, “Merely because one religious group is dominating in a particular locality, it cannot be a ground to prohibit from celebrating religious festivals or taking processions of other religious groups through those roads…If religious intolerance is going to be allowed, it is not good for a secular country. Intolerance in any form by any religious group has to be curtailed and prohibited.”
“In this case, intolerance of a particular religious group is exhibited by objecting for the festivals which have been conducted for decades together and the procession through the streets and roads of the village are sought to be prohibited, stating that the area is dominated by Muslims and therefore, there cannot be any Hindu festival or procession through the locality,” the court further added.
The Judges reiterated that the dominance of one religious group in a locality cannot be a reason to curtail religious processions of another religious group through the locality. The Court argued that if such a rationale is accepted, then, minority communities would not be able to celebrate their festivals in most parts of India. The Madras High court concluded that similar acts of ‘resistance’ by other religious groups would result in loss of lives, destruction of properties, riots, religious fights and chaos.