Monday, November 2, 2015

High court restrained Church from making changes at site of ancient temple

                                                                 Church behind Temple ENTRANCE
Jun 17 2014 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Church restrained from making
 changes at site of ancient temple 

The Madurai bench of the Madras high court on Monday restrained the
managementof St Peter and Paul Church at Serndhamaram in Tirunelveli 
district from making  any further construction or alteration at the site of
 a 1,000-year-old Shiva temple located close to it. The bench of 
Justice V Ramasubramanian and Justice V M Velumani was hearing
 a petition filed by S Arumugam, a resident of Serndhamaram village.
Seeking inspection by an expert committee, Arumugam’s counsel 
T Lajapathy Roy contended that the church management is now
 attempting to destroy the temple  structure. He said the temple 
had a ‘Lingam’ in the sanctum  sanctorum and idols of deities 
sculpted on its pillars and  hence it is necessary to have an
 expert committee set up under  the guidance of an archaeologist
 to study the structure.
The petitioner sought directions to the state’s archaeology
 department to notify the temple as an ancient monument 
and to the collector take over the temple property.
According to the petitioner, the church management encroached
 on the temple land during the British rule and constructed the
 church after demolishing the temple's entrance. It allowed the 
villagers to celebrate temple festival till 2012, but after that even that 
was denied, the petition said.
In 2005, the church initiated action to get some more land, but the
special commissioner and commissioner of land administration in
 Chennai refused, it said. When the church management constructed
 a shopping complex in 2013 on the temple land, the tahsildar passed
 an order on April 22, 2013 to remove it, the petitioner said.
When the matter was brought to the notice of the district superintendent
of police, an archaeological officer was appointed to study the issue.
He visited the temple site on October 7, 2013 and filed a report
 saying there was no co-operation from the church management
and he was restrained from entering the temple, the petitioner said.
Further, the inspector of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment
 department said in a report dated March 17, 2014 that the church had
 encroached on the temple land, he said. After hearing the matter, the bench
granted an interim injunction and adjourned the matter by three weeks to
 enable the government and the church to file their replies.
The church's counsel K Mahendran said cases have been filed against the orders
 of the commissioner of land administration and the tahsildar.
Both the cases are pending, he said.

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