TN warns legal action against Dikshidars

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Chennai, Mar 4 (UNI) The Tamil Nadu Government today warned with legal action against ''hereditary priests'' (Dikshidars) of the ancient Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram if they tried to prevent 'Odhuvars' from reciting Tamil hymns in the temple.

An official release here said devotees were free to recite ''Thevaram'' and ''Thiruvaasagam'' in the temple without paying money as per the government orders.

''Whatever be the legal outcome of the cases registered in connection with the incident, dikshidars are requested not to prevent the devotees from reciting Tamil hymns. Those opposing it will be subjected to stringent legal action'', the Government warned.

The government's warning comes in the wake of violent incidents in the temple on March two, when Othuvars and devotees, led by Arumugaswamy were prevented by dikshidars from reciting Tamil hymns, despite a government order.

This led to a clash between the two groups in which some police personnel were also shoved by the dikshidars.

Police had registered cases against both the groups under various sections of the IPC.

Thevaram singing was an integral part of the rituals in all Saivite temples, including the Chidambaram temple. But some years ago, the dikshidars put an end to the practice. A few years ago Mr Arumugasamy and other Tamil enthusiasts tried to sing the hymns in the temple, but were prevented by the dikshidars.

The matter went to Madras High Court, which had directed the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR and CE) Department to look into the matter. Subsequently, the HR and CE Secretary had issued an order allowing Arumugasamy to sing before the sanctum sanctorum.

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