By P.T. Bopanna
Amid chaotic scenes at Talacauvery in Kodagu (Coorg) district in Karnataka during the recent annual pilgrimage, Congress leader and MLC, Veena Achaiah (in picture wearing traditional Kodava sari), has criticised the deputy commissioner Annies Joy for placing “unnecessary restrictions” on the devotees (Kodavas) visiting the temple.
Video footage showed Madikeri MLA Appachu Ranjan removing the barricade put up by the police to enable devotees to walk towards the Talacauvery shrine by ensuring they maintained social distancing.
This year, the theerthoudbhava (spouting of the holy spring) occurred on October 17 morning. The devout believe Goddess Cauvery appears at the moment and absolves the sins of all those who bathe in her holy waters.
This time there were restrictions on pilgrims attending the annual event because of Covid-19 pandemic.
A group of devotees who walked from Bhagamandala, a township, to Talacauvery, were stopped by the police. MLC Veena Achaiah, who was at the scene, was heard telling the reporters: “Is this Kodadu or Pakistan? The DC does not know the local culture. She should have consulted us. She cannot act on her own will. The theerthodbhava comes once a year.”
The explosive situation eased after MLA Appachu Ranjan appeared on the scene. He ordered the police to allow the devotees to move towards the temple.
The social media is full of posts blaming an elected BJP leader for the conspiracy to “malign the Kodavas”.
Weeks before the event, supporters of the BJP leader had issued press statements barring the Kodavas from wearing their traditional dress while visiting Talacauvery.
Apparently the district administration did not act on the statements. A leading local Kannada newspaper has come under attack from the Kodavas for partisan coverage.
The BJP high command should intervene to discipline their leader who has been trying to fish in troubled waters to gain political mileage.