HC stays Art of Liv­ing event at TN Unesco her­itage site

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Nation - MC Ra­jan mc.ra­[email protected]

CHEN­NAI: The Madras High Court on Fri­day stayed the hold­ing of a two-day event of Art of Liv­ing (AoL), hours be­fore it was sched­uled to com­mence at the iconic Bri­hadeeswarar tem­ple — a Unesco-des­ig­nated her­itage mon­u­ment in Than­javur.

A divi­sion bench of jus­tices KK Sasid­ha­ran and PD Audike­savulu granted the stay af­ter a pe­ti­tion filed ear­lier in the morn­ing, by one N Venkat of Kumbakonam, a char­tered ac­coun­tant in­ter­ested in pro­tect­ing sanc­tity of tem­ples. The court also or­dered im­me­di­ate re­moval of the struc­tures put up at the tem­ple com­plex by AoL. It di­rected the Than­javur Dis­trict Col­lec­tor and Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice, to over­see the or­der is im­ple­mented and file a re­port on Mon­day.

The two-day med­i­ta­tion pro­gramme ti­tled “Un­veil­ing In­fin­ity” was sched­uled to be­gin around 2 pm on De­cem­ber 7. Large and spa­cious tents with all para­pher­na­lia were put up along the main tem­ple wall where AOL founder Sri Sri Rav­is­hankar was slated to ad­dress par­tic­i­pants. Hold­ing the event within the premises the tem­ple trig­gered a con­tro­versy with her­itage en­thu­si­asts and po­lit­i­cal par­ties de­mand­ing its ban.

Join­ing the cho­rus, Dalit leader and Vidutha­lai Chirutha­lai­gal Katchi pres­i­dent Thol Thiru­mavala­van said, “Her­itage and an­tiq­uity of the tem­ple should be pro­tected. The state gov­ern­ment should in­ter­vene and stop the event at the tem­ple com­plex. It is a com­mer­cial event and it is learnt that each par­tic­i­pant has to pay ~3,000. Fur­ther, al­low­ing an or­gan­i­sa­tion iden­ti­fy­ing it­self with a par­tic­u­lar faith would cre­ate trou­ble,” he said Thurs­day.

The is­sue came to light when a Madu­rai-based jour­nal­ist AR Meyyam­mai posted pic­tures of prepa­ra­tions at the tem­ple.

Of­fi­cials in the Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey of In­dia (ASI), which man­ages the tem­ple, said per­mis­sion was granted for the event with strict con­di­tions. Mean­while, protests near the tem­ple com­plex were called off af­ter HC or­der.

SHUTTERSTOCK

Art of Liv­ing was sched­uled to or­gan­ise a two-day med­i­ta­tion camp at the Bri­hadeeswarar tem­ple on De­cem­ber 7.

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