Pon Manickavel, a former Inspector General of Police, who headed the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu police has come out in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks at a rally in Telangana in which he said that governments in southern states especially Tamil Nadu had captured temples and their wealth was being looted.
Responding to Prime Minister Modi's remarks a few days later, Chief Minister MK Stalin had said that he denied such allegations and condemned the remarks.
According to a report by The Commune, Pon Manickavel said, “The current Chief Minister (MK Stalin), if he knows the word ‘Nermai’, in Tamil we call ‘Ne’,’R’,’Mai’, and in English it means ‘honest’. His statement seems to be disingenuous. Disingenuous means dishonest.
"The reason is, you take wealth from Saiva, Vaishnava and other Hindu temples every time for public welfare. I am not asking you to take the wealth from other institutions (minority places of worship). Why aren’t you taking? This is the question which Prime Minister of India Modi, when speaking in a neighboring state politically, he makes this statement.
"Is it true or false? Is it correct or wrong? One can only give percentage out of 100. I am speaking to you after getting permission from my people. Not 100% but what he (PM Modi) said is 280,000% truth! Are temples being looted? Yes, it is true that temples are being looted!”
Further, he said, “What injustice is this? An electricity bill for these temples and a different electricity charge for those (minority places of worship). For these (Hindu temples) it is ₹7.5 per unit and for them (minority places of worship) ₹1.5 per unit. Isn’t this injustice?
"Even a small innocent child would instantly call this injustice. There is no difference of opinion. They don’t speak about all this and when such a time comes, they burst a cracker. Cracker in the sense, they do something which gives rise to a big controversy pan-India and go (referring to Sanatana Dharma controversy)."
Speaking about the recovery of temple lands that have been encroached, he said that while 4.78 lakh acres of land has been encroached, P Sekar Babu, the minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HRCE) department was proudly stating that 5000 acres of land had been recovered.
“In 8 months, the income from all these properties is around ₹151 crores. ₹151 crores income they’ve taken in just 8 months! It is to be welomed. Alright. But for how much you took how much? They don’t say how much of temples lands have been encroached.
"Suppose you ask a headmaster, for how many marks did the student score and get gold medal, and he refuses to say, you tell me if he is honest or dishonest", he said.
“You say you’ve retrieved 5000 acres of temple land. I don’t believe it but I will choose to believe what you say is true. But how many acres are you supposed to retrieve?
"In the legislature, they took signature from Sekar Babu showing the English document. I don’t know if he knows English or not. I am not demeaning him. Don’t take it wrongly. He is a big guy! He is a spiritual man. I bow to him. That is different. I am criticizing to encourage him not to pull him down. I am only urging him to question the Chief Minister."
He then alleged that over 135000 acres have vanished due to a mismatch in the records of the HRCE department and the Revenue department.
"They’ve swallowed these many acres of temple land. We’ve to call them in singular only as they’ve stolen temple property. I am not able to give them respect. It is adharmam to give them respect. They’ve eaten it! Who ate? How did they eat? For many years, they’ve been eating?
"If out of 135,000 acres you retrieve 5000 acres, it comes to around 3.7% not even 4%. For him you are all giving a medal saying he has retrieved 5000 acres and he is hailed as a spiritual politician! Is it fair to dupe poor people who voted for you by sitting in such high position? Chief Minister is a big position and the voters are poor people. We, Sivanadiyars are poorer than them."
Stating that he had the right to question the Chief Minister who is a public servant, he said, "I am not getting into politics but a Chief Minister is a public servant. He is taking a salary of more than ₹2 lakh. In that money, there is one paisa from you, 2 paisas from her and half a paisa from me.
"So, I have every right to question him. I have all rights to question Mr. Stalin. Everybody should ask. You answer! Isn’t this 5000 acre retrieval a lie? This is disingenuous. It may seem good on the outset but there will be dishonesty at the behind.”
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