Christian fanatics encroach ancient Shiva temple and hillock in Tamil Nadu

Madras High Court orders inquiry into encroachment on 60 acres.

Hundreds of incidents of religious fanatics taking over Hindu temples have taken place in India. Now, Christian fanatics too are resorting to the same tactic. ‘Secularists’ will keep mum over this because they consider such incidents as examples of ‘secularism’ !

Chennai – There is an ancient Shiva temple about 1,500-years-old at Vajragiri Mountain. It is situated about 95 kms. from Chennai next to Melmaruvathur in a village called Achirupakkam. There is a small hillock and this ancient Shiva temple in dilapidated state is on the top of this hillock. Churches with splashing cross are seen at the top and bottom of this hillock.

Deity Pasupatheeswarar along with Goddess Maragadhambikai adorn this ancient temple. Now, this temple is in ruins.

Many centuries ago, Hindu devotees had prepared two routes – a vertical one with steps and another one from the back to come by vehicles. Christian fanatics started encroaching this Vajragiri hill from the 1960s and now, they have built two huge churches – one at the top and the other at the bottom – of the hillock. Besides, they have erected many crosses at various places and are slowly trying to bring the whole hillock under their control.

Many scenes from the Bible are erected in cement at various places up to the top of the hillock. A neon sign of ‘Hail Mary’ in Tamil can be seen even from some kilometres away.
The church management erected an arch at the entrance of the vehicle route making mandatory that those who want to go to the temple will have to pass through this arch and they have now scuttled this too with a thorny fence. Hence, the devotees have to take a round-about route. Even in this route, the Christian fanatics dump their garbage and thus harass the devotees in every possible way.

Many Hindus have come together to repair and reconstruct the path and the temple. A devotee named Mounachitha Raja from Thirunelveli who was staying at the top got the electric connection as early as 1967. However, the pathway to the temple was in the dark for a long time. Recently, the Hindu devotees constructed electric poles on the pathway and also a neon signboard with ‘Shiva’ shining at the top. Steps were reconstructed. They wanted to put a new borewell on top, but were stopped by the forest officials saying that ‘this place belonged to the forest department’.

When the devotees asked why are they allowing Christian fanatics, they replied that these fanatics have taken a 99-year lease of this hillock.

According to the history of Pasupatheeswarar Temple at the top and the Aatcheeswarar Temple in the town, both existed during the same period. Just like Thiruvannamalai, Vajragiri ‘Girivalam’ (meaning circumambulation) of the Holy hill was also prevalent.

In 1965, a Christian Father, Pushpam Adigalar built a Holy Susaiyappar church at the foothill and installed a statue of Mother Mary at the top. Later in 2004, the huge churches at the top were built.

A person named Sri Raja applied for information under the RTI Act about the extent of encroachment of Christian missionaries on the Vajragiri hillock. Information provided to him by the corrupt officials who said that the encroachment was only on 6 acres, was incorrect.

Again a PIL was filed in the High Court by Sri Raja. The Judges were shocked on noticing that about 60 acres of land had been illegally occupied by the Christians in connivance with the local Forest Department, Revenue Department, etc.

The Judges have ordered for a thorough investigation into this matter and ordered the officials to submit the details of the land encroached and illegally occupied by Christians before 27th March 2020.

Following are the demands made by Hindu devotees :

1. The path created by the devout Hindus earlier to visit the Pasupatheeswarar Temple be repaired. The decorative entrance gate made by the Christians at the entrance be removed and a decorative structure for the temple be constructed in its place.

2. The Vajragiri hillock belonging to Pasupatheeswarar should be reclaimed from the clutches of the Christians.

3. The mining of rocks from the Vajragiri hill for construction purposes be stopped with immediate effect.

4. Religious conversion practices using objectionable methods to lure innocent village Hindus be banned immediately.

5. Strict action should be taken against the miscreants who broke the electric lamps and neon signboards at the top of the hillock.

6. Proper explanation should be prov-ided by the Forest Department regarding the claim of the Christians that they have taken the hillock on a 99-year lease.