Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has fired a salvo of posts on X alleging “repression” in Tamil Nadu to prevent people from watching the live stream of the Ram temple consecration ceremony in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya today.
Her comments came shortly after the Supreme Court this morning recorded the statement of the Tamil Nadu government, which claimed no restriction has been imposed on temples to live stream the Ram temple consecration event. The Supreme Court ordered the state government to consider applications, if any, for telecasting the pran prathistha ceremony live.
The Tamil Nadu Police had removed some LED screens set up by BJP leaders at public places over allegations that they did not take permission to do so. The state unit of the BJP then approached the Supreme Court, asking for permission to allow live stream from Ayodhya in LED screens installed across the southern state.
Continuing her posts from yesterday, when she pointed out Tamil Nadu has over 200 temples dedicated to Lord Ram and the police have been stopping even private temples from live streaming the pran prathistha ceremony, Ms Sitharaman today said, “The repression saga in Tamil Nadu continues: a small village (not more than 200 houses) where people wanted to celebrate Ayodhya Ram mandir and watch Prime Minister Narendra Modi participate have been told that unless the district collector (DC) gives permission, they shall not install the hired LED screen.”
“The DC is sitting on the matter. LED supplier is threatened. Village: Karunilam district, Chengalpattu,” the Finance Minister said.
The ruling DMK government under Chief Minister MK Stalin has refuted her allegations, saying the BJP has been trying to “divert attention” from the DMK youth conference being held in Tamil Nadu’s Salem today.
Ms Sitharaman also posted a video of some people removing a large LED screen from a temple.
“Inside the famous Kamakshi Kovil, which is privately held, where bhajans have started from 8 am, LED screens are being removed by plainclothed policemen… This is a serious infringement on our right to worship. The DMK government in Tamil Nadu completely failed to protect citizens’ rights. Anti-Hindu DMK now bares its hatred for PM Modi with the police and suppresses peoples aspirations,” Ms Sitharaman said in the post on X.
Inside the famous Kamakshi Kovil, which is privately held, where bhajans have started from 08:00hrs, LED screens are being removed with plain-clothed policemen.
In a temple, privately held, worshippers watching @PMOIndia perform prana prathishta is a serious infringement on our… pic.twitter.com/ykRKhYOgZZ
— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) January 22, 2024
The Finance Minister said in Kanchipuram district alone, 466 LED screens were arranged for the live telecast. “In more than 400 of those places, the police have either confiscated the screens or deployed force to prevent the live telecast. LED suppliers are fleeing with fear. The anti-Hindu DMK is hitting at small businesses,” she alleged.
The DMK government has also denied a newspaper report, which claims oral instructions from the state government barred special pujas and serving free food in the name of Lord Ram in temples. Calling it a “motivated report to bring disrepute to the state government,” the DMK government has said it would take legal action against the newspaper.
The Supreme Court today said no one is bound to abide with oral orders “banning” live telecast of the Ram temple consecration ceremony in temples across Tamil Nadu.
The state government in a statement said that under Mr Stalin, 1,270 temples have been consecrated, free food is served daily in 764 temples, and restored 197 ancient temples, many of which are a thousand years old, at a cost of nearly Rs 300 crore.
“Hindu believers in Tamil Nadu know this, even the Opposition can’t deny,” the state government said in the statement.