Tamil scholar arrested; embarks on fast

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Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, Mar 4 (UNI) Tamil scholar Sivanadiyar Arumugasamy, who was arrested last night after the violent incidents over recital of Tamil hymns in the famous Nataraja temple here, today embarked on a relay hunger fast in the prison, to press his demands.

The scholar was arrested last evening, a day after he recited Thevaram and Thiruvaasagam inside the temple, amid stiff opposition from hereditary priests (Dikshidars), resulting in violence and police lathi charge.

On March 2, 34 Tamil devotees, including eight advocates, were arrested by the police in connectionwith the unpleasant incidents inside the temple.

The scholar was produced before Chidambaram Judicial Magistrate-II Vasanthi, who remanded him to judicial custody. He was later lodged in the Cuddalore sub-jail, where he launched a relay hunger fast this morning, demanding that the Government take over the temple administration to ensure continuous recital of Tamil hymns by the Othuvars in the temple.

He was joined by nine others, including the eight advocates.

Ten more supporters of Arumugasamy would observe fast in the jail tomorrow, while the remaining 14 would fast the day after.

Welcoming the Government's decision warning Dikshidars against preventing Othuvars and devotees from reciting Tamil hymns, Arumugasamy wanted the Government to facilitate their recital without any hindrance.

Condemning the police lathi charge, he urged the Government to withdraw the cases registered against him and his supporters.

Expressing solidarity with the scholar and the arrested advocates, lawyers of Cuddalore, Chidambaram and Neyveli also boycotted courts today.

UNI XR-GV GL VC1816

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