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Monday, Jan 20, 2020

Priest in Tamil Nadu temple slaps woman for demanding proper conduct of rituals

According to Latha, a priest working in the ‘Mukkuruni Vinayagar’ temple inside the Thillai Natrajar complex also abused her in foul language.

south Updated: Nov 17, 2019 22:31 IST
M Manikandan
M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
A video shot by a devotee shows Dharshan alleging that Latha was trying to rob his gold chain.
A video shot by a devotee shows Dharshan alleging that Latha was trying to rob his gold chain.(Sourced)
         

A priest of the famous Thillai Natarajar temple in Tamil Nadu’s Chidambaram town has absconded after he was booked for allegedly slapping a woman devotee after she had asked him to conduct the rituals properly, police said Sunday.

S Latha (51), a resident of Chidambaram had visited the Thillai Natarajar Temple on Friday evening.

According to Latha, a priest working in the ‘Mukkuruni Vinayagar’ temple inside the Thillai Natrajar complex also abused her in foul language.

“As it was my son Rajesh’s 21st birthday, I visited Chidambaram Thillai Natarajar temple for performing rituals in his name. I gave the ritual items to the priest Dharshan. He who went inside the deity’s room had immediately returned and gave back the rituals items to me. When I asked why he had not recited the prayers in the name of my son’s star and zodiac sign, Dharshan yelled at me,” said Latha.

She further alleged that the priest had also slapped her on her cheeks.

“The priest had not even pronounced my son’s name before the Vinayagar deity. When I asked him, he started yelling at me in offensive language. I demanded that he stop the nuisance but he intensified his verbal attack on me and slapped my right cheek,” Latha told HT.

A video shot by a devotee shows Dharshan alleging that Latha was trying to rob his gold chain.

“Since she tried to rob my gold chain, I slapped her for my safety,” Dharshan is seen saying in the video.

But other devotees rubbished the priest’s claim.

“We are standing here with Latha. She did not try to rob your gold chain. How can you say that?” other devotees questioned Dharshan.

HT cannot authenticate the veracity of the video.

Following Latha’s complaint, Chidambaram police registered an FIR against the priest. Police said Darshan has been absconding since Saturday night.

“We have booked him for harassing the woman devotee in the temple. We have evidence that the priest had abused the woman and have formed a special team to arrest him,” said an inquiry officer with Chidambaram Police Station.

When HT tried to contact the temple’s management, they did not take the calls or reply to messages.

Latha was admitted to the Chidambaram Government Hospital.