Members of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) staged a protest after entering into the Agnitheertham sea in Rameswaram on Sunday against the shifting of six ‘theerthams’ inside the Sri Ramanathaswamy temple and against the local municipality.
Led by K E Nazar Khan, Rameswaram DMK town secretary, about 200 party volunteers staged the protest after blind folding themselves and blowing conches in the sea, alleging that the theerthams were shifted to the second corridor against the ‘agama sastras’.
Mr Khan said the temple authorities had shifted the theerthams, ignoring the religious sentiments of thousands of pilgrims visited the temple from all over the country and world. As the temple authorities had made the north entrance both for entry and exit, pilgrims faced inconvenience and could not offer worship in peace, he claimed.
The DMK, though believed in rationalist policy, has taken up the ‘theertham’ issue for the cause of pilgrims, he said. The protest was also against the municipality for removing the shops around the temple, affecting the livelihood of small and middle class people.
When contacted, temple officials said they had shifted the theerthams only on the order of the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court and alleged that the DMK has staged the stir at the behest of ‘Yatrika paniyalargal’ whose earnings were hit after the shifting.
As all the theerthams were now located on the second corridor, pilgrims were allowed through the north entrance and leave through the south entrance without any problem. After changing clothes at the rooms for men and women at the south entrance, they come into the temple through the east entrance and offered worship. The present arrangement was absolutely convenient to the pilgrims, they claimed. The temple was also being maintained well, they added.