Chennai: Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai on Thursday demanded that the state government lift restrictions on week-end worship at the temples, within 10 days. He also warned that the DMK dispensation’s attempt to “impose its ideology” will result in a backlash from the people.
Annamalai stated that the state government is attempting to “impose its ideology” on the theists by restricting darshan during weekends.
The BJP chief insisted that there was “no logic” in keeping temples closed from Friday to Sunday citing coronavirus, when it had permitted cinema halls to re-open and is getting ready to restart schools for all classes for children for whom COVID-19 vaccine is yet to be rolled out. He also charged the state government with using the Centre’s advisory on COVID-19 to its advantage.
“Navaratri celebrations have begun today but the State government has decided to keep the temples closed from Friday to Sunday claiming festivals could become a spreader of the virus. There is no logic in this argument as the Central government’s circular on restrictions is purely advisory,” Annamalai said.
The BJP president, who led a massive protest here to force the DMK-led government to permit darshan at temples, told reporters that his party has been constrained to organise the protest in front of 12 ancient temples today.
“The DMK government said it would not rigidly follow the Centre’s advisory and would take independent decisions. But this decision to keep the temples closed citing Coronavirus has denied the rights of the people to visit temples to worship the gods,” he said. Hence, the protest today.
He expressed hope that the government would concede the demand within 10 days. “Don’t test people’s patience, their faith in god. If the demand is not met, then there will be massive protests by the people,” the BJP senior warned.
“We are giving 10 days for the government to change its mind, or else we don’t have an option other than to hit the streets in a massive way. Using the boggy Coronavirus to push their false ideology will be opposed by the BJP tooth and nail,” he further added. “When TASMAC outlets, theatres and other commercial centres are open, why this approach to temples? Is this their way of bringing their ‘no god ideology’ into our personal space?” Annamalai asked.
Despite an element of risk involved in it, his party had supported the government in its decision to re-open the schools, as children have been confined to their homes for nearly one-and-a-half years and that they need to go back to the school for their education.
“The DMK government’s attempt to impose its ideology on the people was evident when it banned the Vinayaka Chaturthi celebrations. Not only Hindus, even the Muslims and Christians who have participated in this protest want all the religious places of worship to be reopened,” he said.
A large number of women members of the BJP held ‘thee chetti’ (fire pots) with neem leaves strung around them, asking the government to allow darshan in temples this Navaratri.