The ruling DMK’s Lok Sabha MP, S Senthilkumar objected to ‘Bhoomi Puja’ for a road project by a Hindu priest and said that representatives of all religions should be invited to offer prayers for any such events.
The Dharmapuri Lok Sabha MP, on his arrival at the spot in his home district asked an official if he was aware that a government function should not be held in such a manner involving prayers of only one particular religion.
“Sir, Do you have instructions or not that government functions should not be held like this. Are you aware or not?” he asked.
Pointing to a saffron robes clad Hindu priest, the MP asked the official: “What is this? Where are the other religions?, Where is the Christian and Muslim? Invite the Church father, the Imam, invite those who do not profess any religion, the atheists’, the Dravidar Kazhagam (representatives),” he said.
Dravidar Kazhagam, a rationalist outfit founded by social justice icon Periyar E V Ramasamy is the parent body of the ruling DMK.
Tamil Nadu BJP vice president Narayanan Thirupathy strongly condemned Senthilkumar and demanded to know if the MP would have acted in the very same manner, in case the official had belonged to Islam and if the officer had held prayers as per Islamic tenets. Performance of puja is considering the belief of employees and it is not done for the sake of government. The MP has to apologise to public for insulting people’s faith, he said adding Senthilkumar’s behaviour was ‘childish.’ To a question from the MP, the official identified himself as a Public Works Department Executive Engineer and tendered an apology to the Parliamentarian. “This is the Dravidian model of governance. The government is for people belonging to all faiths,” the MP told the official.
He also made it clear he is not against performance of puja. However, such events should involve all faiths.
“Do it by inviting everyone.” Senthilkumar shared a short video of the conversation between him and the official on his twitter handle. “Trying to Keep my cool. At times they make me to lose my patience,” the MP tweeted.
The MP advised officials present to ‘clear’ everything, apparently referring to preparations to hold Bhoomi Puja by the Hindu priest alone. The event is for a road project in Dharmapuri District.
The MP, who appeared aggressive, also said that such prayers were not performed in government events participated by Chief Minister M K Stalin. Senthilkumar also advised officials to not invite him to such events involving prayers of a particular religion. After dialogue with the officials, the MP inaugurated the project and apparently no prayers were held as originally scheduled.