The Attingal municipality on Sunday demolished the ‘bhajana madom’ that had been reconstructed a week ago, soon after the original one had been removed. The controversial makeshift prayer venue, which was found to be encroaching on public land, was taken down under close watch of a large police posse.
The ‘bhajana madom’ that had been initially constructed at Kottiyodu a few years ago had become a bone of contention between the municipality and the BJP and various Hindu organisations in recent times. The venue had been initially demolished by the municipal authorities on September 24, sparking protests by a large number of devotees with many being detained by the afternoon.
However, they were soon released, following which the agitators reconstructed a portion of the ‘bhajana madom’ at the particular place. A hartal had also been observed on the same day.
Following the issue, the Attingal police had submitted a report to the District Collector, who directed the police to provide protection and handle any law and order issue that could arise.
The ‘bhajana madom’ was taken down by revenue officials, led by the Varkala tahsildar, who supervised the efforts in the absence of the Attingal tahsildar, at around 6 a.m.
In sharp contrast to the situation that had existed a week ago, the activity met no resistance and went smoothly.
According to Attingal municipal chairman M. Pradeep, the prayer venue used to be erected by devotees every year during the Mandalam pilgrim season. “However, they constructed a permanent structure two years ago and later, claimed that the particular plot had been transferred to them by an individual. A petition that was subsequently filed by them at the Thiruvananthapuram munsiff court, seeking its removal be stayed, was dismissed. Later, on the basis of their petition, the Kerala High Court had directed the municipality to adopt appropriate action after considering the grievance of the petitioners,” he said.
An appeal which was submitted by the petitioner was taken up for discussion by the Attingal municipal council on September 5.
The plea was unanimously rejected by the 31-member council, which included four BJP councillors, Mr. Pradeep added.
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