Sitharaman accuses TN of 'restricting' worship of Ram on 22 Jan, state govt calls it false information
Reacting to the Union minister's allegations, Tamil Nadu minister P.K. Sekar Babu of the DMK clarified that no such ban exists
Citing a report from a local Tamil-language newspaper, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman appears to have erroneously accused the DMK-led government of Tamil Nadu of restricting and barring ritualistic worship of Lord Ram, on both virtual and physical fronts, on the day of the pran pratishtha (consecration) ceremony in Ayodhya on 22 January.
The state government, the governing coalition of which has the DMK as its senior partner, was prompt to dismiss this as false information, with "communal motives and incendiary intentions".
Attaching a picture of the newspaper's report to her post on X, Sitharaman boldly stated, "TN govt has banned watching live telecast of #AyodhaRamMandir programmes of 22 Jan 24. In TN there are over 200 temples for Shri Ram. In HR&CE managed temples no puja/bhajan/prasadam/annadanam in the name of Shri Ram is allowed. Police are stopping privately held temples also from organising events. They are threatening organisers that they will rip off pandals. Strongly condemn this anti-Hindu, hateful action."
In a subsequent post, the Union minister continued to spew vitriol against the state government and the Opposition's INDIA coalition, writing, "Heart-breaking scenes in several parts of TN. People are threatened for organising #bhajans, feeding the poor, celebrating with sweets even as we wish to watch Hon. PM @narendramodi participate in #Ayodhya. Cable TV operators are told that there is a likely power-shut down during the live telecast. This is I.N.D.I Alliance partner DMK’s anti-Hindu efforts."
In another post, presumably to offer a clarificatory declaration even before her narrative could be challenged, she wrote, "TN govt is unofficially claiming law and order issues to justify the live telecast ban. False and fake narrative! There was no L&O issues on the day of #Ayodhya verdict. Not even the day when PM @narendramodi laid the foundation, in any part of the country. The groundswell and the voluntary participation of people to celebrate #ShriRam in TN has rattled the anti-Hindu #DMK."
While Sitharaman has been consistently posting about the consecration ceremony and has branded an entire government within India as "anti-Hindu", she has posted nothing about the upcoming interim Budget for the fiscal year 2024-25, which is scheduled to be presented in the Lok Sabha on 1 February.
Reacting to the Union minister's allegations, Tamil Nadu Hindu religious and charitable endowments (HR&CE) minister P.K. Sekar Babu of the DMK clarified that no such ban officially exists. In temples in Tamil Nadu, the HR&CE ministry has not attempted to impose any restrictions on the nature or the conduct of the worship of Lord Ram on any particular day. He also stated that there are no obstructions whatsoever to the practice of annadanam or the distribution of prasadam.
"A rumour is being disseminated to divert people's attention from the DMK's youth wing conference, underway now at Salem," he opined in his post on X. He further expressed his disappointment that Sitharaman, a minister occupying one of the highest offices in the Union cabinet, was peddling such "blatantly false narratives with visibly ulterior motives".