Sudhanshu Trivedi, a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha representing the Bharatiya Janata Party, had recently made a serious allegation in a podcast show “ANI Podcast with Smita Prakash”. As the name suggests, the podcast is helmed by ANI, and it is hosted by ANI’s Editor Smita Prakash.
The ANI Podcast has been accused of giving platform almost exclusively for the right-wing politicians, influencers, writers who overwhelmingly support the BJP and the opposition is not heard just as much. Due to the choice of guests, who often lean towards the Hindutva rhetoric, it has been criticised for being one-sided.
In the 98th episode of the show, BJP MP Sudhanshu Trivedi alleged the following:
In the ‘Kolathur’ village of ‘Perambur’ District of Tamil Nadu, where there are 70% Muslim population, the Muslims objected to temples conducting Poojas and Hindus worshipping in the temples as it is a sin according to their faith and wanted to stop it. The DMK acceded to their demand. It was only after the intervention of the Madras High Court, the temples are allowed to conduct poojas.
Here’s what’s wrong:
- The issue Sudhanshu Trivedi talks about is actually from Perambalur District and the village name is called “V.Kalathur”. It is not Perambur and Kolathur as he claimed but that could be a mispronunciation of the places.
- It is not predominantly a Muslim dominated village with 70% Muslim population. Equal number of Hindus and Muslims live in the village.
- Muslims did not demand pooja and worship in Temples to be stopped as it is against their religious sentiments. They demanded religious procession not to be allowed in the streets where Muslims live.
- DMK did not accede to the Muslims’ demand, and it did not ban worship in Temples. DMK was not even in power during the entire duration of the issue.
What’s up with V.Kalathur?
In V.Kalathur, Muslims and Hindus live in equal numbers and they have had no issues prior to 2012. In 2012, a demand was kept by Muslims to not allow temple procession in certain streets where Muslims live. This was rejected several times until 2018, when the Police Department and other officials under the then ADMK Government, issued certain restrictions for festival processions of the Hindu Temples.
What the 2018 order said?
- There will be celebration of village festival for three days.
- The first procession of the first day would be taken only through the Main Roads and the procession would come to halt at the temple.
- The second procession of the first day shall be taken from 10 P.M to 2 A.M via Periyakadai Veedhi, Pallivasal Street and Agraharam Street and would return on the same route to halt at Mariamman Koil.
- Similarly, on the second day the first procession would be taken only through the Main Roads and the procession would come to halt at the temple.
- The second procession of the second day would be taken from 10 P.M to 2 A.M via Periyakadai Veedhi, Pallivasal Street and Agraharam Street and return on the same route to halt at Mariamman Koil.
- Since there was an objection by the Muslim community people about the sprinkling of turmeric water, based on the undertaking affidavit dated 11.10.2018 filed by the petitioner, it was directed that the Hindus shall not sprinkle turmeric water on the third day and they would restrict their celebrations and rituals on the third day.
Basically, the order put limitations on streets and time constraints for the procession to go. And it stopped sprinkling of turmeric water. There is no ban on worship or pooja being conducted in the temple. This was later overturned by the 2-member bench of the Madras High Court in 2021 which allowed procession to go through all streets freely without any restriction.
How is DMK involved?
From May 2011 to May 2021, ADMK was in power. DMK was in the opposition. The issue started in 2012 and restrictions were put in place by a Court order in 2018 which was overturned in April 2021 by another court order. DMK assumed office only on May 7, 2021. For the entire duration of the issue, DMK was not in power at all. However, BJP MP Sudhanshu Trivedi claims that DMK acceded to Muslims demand for pooja and worship be stopped in Hindu temples as it is against their religious sentiments. Both aspects of this claim are false.
Timeline of the issue:
Till 2011 – Hindus and Muslims live in V.Kalathur with no issues.
2012 – Some Muslims demand festival procession during temple festivals be not allowed in their streets. The demand was rejected.
2015 – Similar demands were kept and a court case was filed. The procession was allowed to continue. Court directed proper protection to be given to the area and maintain law and order.
2018 – Police enforced restrictions for festival processions. It was challenged in Court. A single member bench allowed the restrictions with some tweaks. It was appealed by both Hindus and Muslims.
April 2021 – 2 Member Bench of the Madras High Court allowed festival procession to be carried out in all streets.
May 2021 – DMK assumed office.
Aug 2022 – Hindus and Muslims of V.Kalathur called for a truce in presence of District Collector and officials.
Malicious Propaganda against Tamil Nadu
YouTurn has covered several misinformation regarding Tamil Nadu being spread in other parts of India, most notable theme of those dis/misinformation campaigns is, Hindus are not safe in Tamil Nadu. We have seen claims like temples are being demolished in Tamil Nadu, Former Minister is boasting about demolishing temples in Tamil Nadu, anti-Hindu forces vandalise temples etc.
Even this claim by BJP MP Sudanshu Trivedi is an old misinformation spread in 2022 which YouTurn has already covered, and he chose to recycle and reuse to set a particular narrative. In another episode of ANI’s Podcast with Smita Prakash featuring J. Sai Deepak, an ideologue & ‘spokesperson’ of the Hindutva brigade, claimed that even army men are lynched in Tamil Nadu which is also false. We have separately addressed problematic things that Sai Deepak said in two of our videos which you can see here and here.
Similarly, a wave of misinformation was unleashed by the BJP that migrant workers from Bihar are getting assaulted, lynched and stabbed in Tamil Nadu which was further enhanced by the right-wing ecosystem.
A New villain?
The entire ultra-nationalist jingoistic Hindutva narrative is dependent on having an enemy – mostly imagined – Muslims. It is only a matter of time that it reaches its saturation point. So, it could be a possibility that they are searching for a new bogeyman to show its core voters. With the delimitation looming upon us on 2026, the north-south gap is set to widen and it could be a possibility that the south, or Tamil Nadu in particular, proves to be an alternate antagonist for the Hindutva plot given the state’s history of Dravidian politics which diametrically opposed ideologically.