Uttarakhand government selected on Friday a park inside a government building in Haridwar to install the statue of Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar following outrage by state seers and pressure from Tamil Nadu politicians over the last month.
Former Rajya Sabha member from Uttarakhand, Tarun Vijay, on June 29 organised a programme to erect a statue of the Tamil poet at the Shiv bridge near Har Ki Pauri. But when the Ganga Sabha — the umbrella body of ‘teerth-purohits’— objected to it, the administration decided to install the idol at Shankaracharya Chowk, but saints resisted the move.
The Haridwar administration on Tuesday re-erected the statue on the compound of a government building, where the statue was otherwise kept wrapped in a plastic sheet.
On Friday, the government sent two senior IAS officials from Tamil Nadu serving in Uttarakhand -- Meenakshi Sundaram and SA Murugesan -- to inspect the place in Haridwar.
District magistrate Harbhajan Chug said: “We plan to install the statue at a park inside a government building called CCR Tower during a function that will be attended by chief minister Rawat.”
Sundaram, the vice chairman of the Mussoorie-Dehradun Development Authority, said the chief minister wants the process of the statue’s installation to be expedited.
A newspaper picture of the statue wrapped in black plastic sheet had triggered outrage in Tamil Nadu. But Sundaram denied there was any opposition from seers to the installation.
Their apprehension was that installing Thiruvalluvar’s statue on the ghat might give rise to similar demands from different groups following different icons, the official said.
Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, who had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to intervene into the matter, thanked Rawat for taking steps to install the statue in his state, calling it a “positive action.”
“I am grateful that you have responded speedily and positively to the outpouring of sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu on this sensitive issue.”
Rawat also wrote to Jayalalithaa saying the Thiruvalluvar statue will give inspirations to pilgrims visiting Haridwar.
“We hope that the people of Uttarakhand and the pilgrims who visit Haridwar will have an opportunity to get the glimpse of revered poet (Thiruvalluvar). The place will become an integral part among the pilgrimage place,” Rawat said, inviting his Tamil Nadu counterpart to the hill state.
(With PTI inputs)