Tamil Nadu seer’s ‘communal’ remark upsets Towheed, earns him police summon

Tamil Nadu police has summoned Satakopa Ramanuja Jeer, the head of Manavala Mamunigal Mutt over his remarks found by Towheed Jamaat can incite communal violence.
Indian Towheed Jamaat of Tamil Nadu claims Manavala Mamunigal Mutt head’s remarks may incite communal hatred(HT Photo/Representative)
Indian Towheed Jamaat of Tamil Nadu claims Manavala Mamunigal Mutt head’s remarks may incite communal hatred(HT Photo/Representative)
Updated on Aug 19, 2019 06:53 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chennai | ByMC Rajan

A well known Vaishnavite Mutt head in the pilgrim centre, Srivilliputhur, in Tamil Nadu has been summoned by the Virudhunagar district police on a complaint by a Towheed Jamaat functionary charging him with attempting to create enmity between religious communities.

The religious leader, Satakopa Ramanuja Jeer of the Manavala Mamunigal Mutt has been told to appear before the Virudhunagar police for inquiry on August 22.

Police is acting on a complaint by one Syed Ali, Kancheepuram District Secretary of Indian Towheed Jamaat who accused the seer of promoting enmity between Hindus and Muslims with his remark about the deity Athi Varadhar--12-ft statue of Lord Vishnu carved out of fig wood, in Kancheepuram.

The deity, retrieved from the temple tank of Sri Varadaraja Perumal shrine, was kept for public worship for 48 days from July 1 onwards. On August 17, the deity was interned back in the underground cellar at the tank named Anadasaras. It is said to be a once in 40-years spectacle. This year, more than one crore devotees came to worship the lord including President Ramnath Kovind, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, matinee icon Rajinikath, chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and deputy chief minister, O Panneerselvam.

The temple is among the 108 ‘Divya Desams’ of the Vaishnavites and as per the tradition, the deity will now be brought out for public viewing only in 2059.

Satakopa Ramanuja Jeer had controversially opposed internment of the deity this time and appealed to the state government in this regard, claiming support of many mutt heads.

“The lord is not an ordinary one, but a very gracious and yet powerful ‘murti’. There is no need to place him back in the cellar. He should bless the devotees all throughout the year so that his grace radiates without any hindrance. The practice of hiding the deity in the tank was to protect him from Muslim invaders in the past. Now, no such threat exists and hence, the lord should not be taken back,” he had said.

The Vaishnavite leader had earlier spearheaded the protest against Sahitya Akademi award winning Tamil poet, Vairamuthu for his alleged disparaging remarks about saint Sri Aandal, revered in Vaishnavite traditions.

“We too know how to use soda bottles,” was his response then to the criticism aimed at him.

The Towheed functionary, offended by the reference to ‘Muslim invaders,’ had lodged the complaint with the chief minister’s special cell.

“The Jeer’s irresponsible remarks have caused great distress among the Muslims as it has the potential to incite communal violence,” Syed Ali said seeking appropriate action in his complaint.

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