The conversion plot in a Tamil Nadu village perpetrated by Islamist extremist outfits has been foiled by the coordinated effort of various Hindu groups
Pazhangkallimedu is centuries old village in Nagapattinam District in Tamil Nadu which is situated near Vedaranyam. In Pazhangkallimedu, as in every Tamil Nadu Village, a Kovil (temple) of Amman-Sree Bhadrakali. The majority inhabitants of the village are the Pillai community, who have been taking care of the temple and the deities for past several centuries. The Dalits are a small group in the village. In past Dalits were kept away from temples and from performing Poojas in the temples. Though the situation has changed in many places, but in many interiors this still situation prevail. Here too, Dalits were facing some restrictions and discriminations in performing the temple rituals and participating in Poojas.
Here, in Pazhangkallimedu, the situation was exploited by a political leader named Thirumavalavan, who actually has lost his base in last elections. He wanted to exploit the situation politically and appease the Muslim community and outfits. For this, he let the Muslim outfits enter the Dalit communities.
The Muslim outfits also tried to yield gain from the situation. They have supplied Quran to all Dalit homes in the village.They declared that they would leave Hinduism, unless they are given permission to enter the temple. This declaration hit the headlines of media and got nation wide attention. The founder coordinator of Hindu Help Line in Kerala, Pratheesh Viswanath noticed the matter and contacted the in-charges of Hindu Help Line in Tamil Nadu. Hindu Help Line is an individual body and a help desk, for suggesting, finding and implementing solutions for the problems Hindus face. The entry of Hindu Help Line changed the picture of the controversy.
The Hindu Help Line activists went to the Pazhangkallimedu village and talked to people there. They have organised meetings with both the groups in 24 hours and spoke to the representatives of Dalits and Pillai community separately. Within a short while, the Hindu Help Line representatives could make an amity between the upper and lower caste Hindus for the problem that could be not solved for long and which was in front of RDO as a compliant. The village and temple authorities and Pillai community agreed to the rights of all Hindus entering temple and performing rituals equally.
Aided and abetted by VCK (a political party), the Tamil Nadu Tauheed Jamaat (an Islamist outfit notorious for its virulent anti-idol worship propaganda) had created a rift among the communities citing non-existent religious intolerance and managed to hoodwink the gullible villagers to go to the extent of converting to Islam.
Many attempts have been made by Hindu organisations and activists to abate the issue; among them the initiative by Sri Sendalankara Sampathkumara Ramanuja Jeeyar was praiseworthy. He expressed his desire to visit any government school in the Pazhangallikkadu village. But there is a police order not to allow any person belonging to any religious organisation or political party to visit the village. There is a valid reason for the promulgation of the ban since six persons belonging to the VCK with the support of Towheed Jamaat , were creating and maintaining a tense situation there, causing roadblocks to the development of any constructive and conducive atmosphere. Finally, Jeeyar went to the temple and performed a Mahalakshmi Homam in the temple premises. He graciously called one Senthil who was spearheading the revolt and goading the people to convert, and honoured him to be the Head for the Homam and made him take the oath to be responsible for the smooth conduct.
TS Venkatesan with inputs from VSK, Chennai