Over 300 residents of Nochikuppam sat up the whole of Friday night to ensure that Sri Ganga Bhavani Amman temple along the Loop Road was not demolished.
They raised slogans urging the State government to stop the proposed demolition. They brought in catamarans and formed a wall of sorts on the road to protect the temple from demolition.
And their blockade paid off since officials of Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board (TNUHDB), the police and Revenue department, who had gone to the fishing village to pull down the temple, agreed to wait for the result of the legal proceedings.
“They have impleaded themselves in the case filed by a resident of the village stating that the temple was an encroachment. But since their petition was numbered, we agreed to wait and inform the Madras High Court of the developments,” said a senior official of the Board.
K. Bharathi of Nochikuppam said the temple existed for over 50 years and that it was definitely there in 2014 when the then Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (presently TNUHDB) had pulled down their old houses to construct new blocks. “It is marked in the layout. We will accept the final orders of the High Court. But as residents, we think our religious rights are being infringed upon. The temple is not an encroachment. It has been constructed with contributions from residents. Apart from the shrine for the amman, there are shrines for Lord Vinayaka and Navagraham in the temple,” he said.
Kabaddi Maran, another resident, said the State government, led by Chief Minister M. K. Stalin, had been doing a lot for temples . “Since we were not consulted before the Court passed the orders, we now hope the judges would be lenient towards our sentiments. The government too should help us,” he added.