New Delhi/Chennai, Jan 22 (PTI) The BJP vs ruling DMK battle over live telecast of the Ayodhya Ram temple consecration in Tamil Nadu shrines reached the Supreme Court on Monday, with the apex court asking the authorities to act in accordance with the law and not based on any oral instructions.
In the Madras High Court, the state government submitted no permission was needed for related functions in private enclosures. While the HC held Bhakti towards God is only for peace and happiness and not to disturb the social equilibrium, this was cited by Chief Minister M K Stalin as the court's 'censure' of Saffron party people.
A war of words over 'ban' on live telecast and conducting other events like Bhajans and Annadhanam broke between the BJP leaders and Governor R N Ravi on the one side and Chief Minister Stalin and Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department Minister PK Sekar Babu on the other side.
Governor Ravi alleged that priests and staff of a Shri Ram temple here, under the control of the state government, faced 'repression' while the entire country celebrated the 'Pran Pratishtha' of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya. The CM slammed the Governor for his 'repression' remark and the BJP as well for 'Ram temple politics.' After the intervention of courts, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai, witnessed on large TV screens in temples, the Ayodhya Sri Ram mandir Pran Pratishtha.
A Supreme Court bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, while hearing a plea seeking quashing of an "oral order" dated January 20 banning live telecast of the consecration ceremony at Ayodhya in temples across Tamil Nadu, said no one is bound to abide by the oral orders.
Both Sitharaman and Annamalai had alleged on Sunday that public screening of Ayodhya event and related programmes like Bhajan was barred by authorities in the state.
The Saffron party alleged the DMK regime is 'anti-Hindu' and people would teach a fitting lesson to the ruling party in the Lok Sabha polls.
Annamalai, speaking to reporters in Chennai after watching the event live in Sri Venugopalaswamy temple at downtown Gopalpuram said the ruling DMK regime created a situation for the BJP to pursue legal struggle to ensure performance of special pujas, other events and public screening of the Ayodhya ceremony.
The Venugopalaswamy shrine is located next to the residence of late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi.
Annamalai said that only after legal battles in the Madras High Court and in the Supreme Court, people were able to conduct pujas, bhajans and distribute 'Annadhanam' and witness the Pran Pratishtha event in private places, privately run temples and in shrines under the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department's ambit.
Nirmala Sitharaman said the DMK regime did not change its stand till the last minute and she and others continued to receive message of travails faced by the people who tried to mark the Ayodhya ceremony by holding celebratory events. She thanked the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court for their directives.
Only after the courts orders, they were able to put up an LED screen and witness the ceremony at the Kancheepuram Kamakshi temple run by the Kanchi Sankara Math, she said adding the courts 'established the right' of Hindus.
Sitharaman asserted that if attempts to 'usurp' rights of Hindus were made, legal measures would be pursued and 'we don't pelt stones.' The temple town of Kancheepuram is the home town of DMK founder and Dravidian icon CN Annadurai (1909-1969).
Chief Minister Stalin said those who sought nod for 'bhajan' in Kancheepuram Kamakshi temple had mentioned that they would not hold any live telecast and this information was concealed by Sitharaman. No person in the BJP, right from Delhi to Tamil Nadu is an exception to spreading rumours, he alleged.
The CM said Governor Ravi's accusation of 'repression' demonstrated 'malice,' which showed that those who got high offices due to the BJP functioned as "rumour spreading WhatsApp Universities." When the priests of the temple have dismissed Ravi's allegation, "what could be the reason for Governor's accusation other than politics? he asked.
He hit out at the Govenror for "searching the BJP's Ayodhya Ram temple politics in the peaceful Kothandaramar temple." Ravi's Chennai temple visit was an act of deception, he alleged.
Stalin, also the president of ruling DMK said the Tamil Nadu people will worship Perumal (Lord Vishnu) and at the same time hail Periyar's ideology (of social justice) and also respect people belonging to other religions. He asked DMK workers to focus on defeating 'communal' forces in the Lok Sabha polls and take forward Dravidian ideology across the nation.
Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister P K Sekar Babu slammed attempts towards 'mixing' spiritualism with politics. Sitharaman attempted to do politics of spiritualism in Tamil Nadu, he alleged.
Annamalai underlined that legal struggle became a 'compulsion,' and alleged the 'DMK government is against the people's faith.' The happenings over the past three days has reinforced again that 'the DMK regime is against the Hindu people,' and people will teach a lesson to the ruling party in the Lok Sabha polls scheduled to be held in April-May.
While the HR and CE 'orally' prohibited events and police stopped such celebratory events through written orders, as many as 21 orders in writing were attached in the petition filed by the BJP in the Supreme Court.
The Madras High Court order pointed out that no police permission was needed for events in private places and intimation was suffice in the case of HR and CE managed temples, the BJP leader said. These two court verdicts would show the extent to which the DMK regime tried in an 'autocratic' manner to scuttle the events to mark the Ayodhya ceremony, he said.
He and others from his party witnessed the Ayodhya ceremony at the Gopalapuram temple based on invitation from the temple trustee. By barring events, the DMK government has created an 'upsurge' (of devotion) in Tamil Nadu, he said. PTI VGN MNL CORR SA VGN ROH