Volte face by Dikshidars after TN Govt warning

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Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, Mar 5 (UNI) Taking a u-turn from their stance, Dikshidars of the famous Lord Nataraja temple here today accorded a rousing reception to Othuvars and other devotees by reciting Tamil hymns Thevaram and Thiruvasagam in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

The Dikshidars, who stoutly opposed Othuvars rendering Tamil hymns on March 2, which resulted in violent incidents, changed their stand, a day after the Tamil Nadu Government warned the hereditary priests of legal action.

Armed with a Madras High Court order and a Government Order, the Othuvars, led by Tamil scholar Arumugasamy, had entered the temple to recite Tamil hymns, only to face stiff opposition from the Dikshidars. However, police intervened and helped Arumugasamy to recite the hymns.

Taking a serious note of it, the Tamil Nadu Government had yesterday warned dikshidars of stringent legal action if they prevented Othuvars from reciting Tamil hymns.

A day after the Government warning, members of the Revolutionary Democratic Youth Front (RDYF) and Farmers Liberation Front (FLF) recited Thevaram and Thiruvasagam in the temple today.

About 50 members from both sides assembled in the temple premises. Due to space constraints, a representative each from either side was allowed to recite the Tamil hymns from the sanctum sanctorum. Mr Shanmugam of RDYF and Mr Murugan of FLF recited the hymns. Later, the dikshidars offered them temple prasadams.

Police have registered cases in connection with the violence and arrested 12 dikshidars, Arumugasamy and 34 of his supporters and lodged them in the Cuddalore sub-jail.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi chaired a high-level meeting at the State Secretariat in Chennai and ordered release of all those arrested.

He said that since there was no opposition by the Dikshidars for recital of Tamil hymns by Othuvars, the Government decided to release all those arrested in this connection.

UNI GV-WS PD KN1519

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