PMK, DMK condemn plans to hand over TN temples to ASI



Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu are opposed to the idea of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) taking over the temples in the state, saying "it is equivalent to closing them".

Referring to news reports, Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S.Ramadoss said it is not known why the Central government wants to hand over the temples managed by the Tamil Nadu government to the ASI.

"Handing over temples where people frequent and prayers are held to ASI is equivalent to closing them down," he said, adding Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel has not explained the reason for the hand over.

"It is nothing but cultural invasion," Ramadoss said.

He said once the temples go to the ASI, then there will be lot of restrictions on the devotees and over a period of time devotees will stop visiting those temples.

"Once the temples come under ASI, their sanctity will vanish and they would become just a building or an ancient monument," Ramadoss claimed.

According to Ramadoss, the ASI has the attitude of trying to bring under its ambit any Indian temple that is popular, citing the taking over of Arunachaleswarar Temple in Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu in 2002.

Ramadoss said after ASI take over, the manner of poojas changed and the temple was taken back by the state government after a legal case in 2005.

Similarly, in 2018, the ASI wrote to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) to take over the famed Sri Venkatachalapathy Temple in Andhra Pradesh but later backtracked following opposition.

Condemning the Union Minister's statement, DMK President M.K.Stalin said that the temples in the state are under the Tamil Nadu government and there is also an Archaeological Department in the state.

Stalin said the Central government's move is cultural imposition, and also condemned the AIADMK government for being silent on the matter. IANS