Madkaikars march in Ponda, oppose idol replacement, Mahajans remain firm

GOANEWS DESK, PONDA | 10 February 2016 20:31 IST

The issue of changing an idol of Shree Navdurga temple has turned into a social conflict between the Mahajans and the villagers of Madkai in Ponda taluka.

While the villagers today marched to the Ponda Mamlatdar threatening to create a law and order problem, the temple Mahajan committee has decided to go ahead with the religious ceremony of replacing the idol on 22 February.

The new idol of Goddess Shree Navdurga is scheduled to be installed on 3 March.

Deputy speaker Vishnu Wagh told the media persons at the morcha that Goa government has assured to intervene into the matter.   

After holding a large public meeting in the village last week, around 1200 villagers marched today to the Ponda Mamlatdar, who is also the administrator of temples under the Goa Mahajani Act.

Shailendra Panajikar, President of the Shree Devi Navdurga Pratishthan, demanded that the temple committee be restrained from holding the religious ceremony to replace the idol by using his powers as the administrator.

Joint Mamlatdar Abhir Hede however told the protestors that he has no powers under the Mahajani Act from stopping the committee in performing the rituals.

“I am an administrator to look after the administration and accounts and not the religious rituals”, he said.

Writer N Shivdas, who has been fightding to open temples for all, argued with the Mamlatdar, stating that the temple is a public property and not a private estate of the Mahajans as they claim it, quoting Supreme Court judgement of September 2001.

“Since the temple offers a paid service of Puja (prayers) to the public and the whole village participates in the temple festivities, it cannot be called a private temple”, said Panajikar.

Hede however expressed helplessness in deciding the issue of private or public ownership, stating that the higher authorities should take a call on this.

Vallabh Kamat, president of the temple committee, however told goanews.com that the ceremony has been planned after taking the local villages of total seven waddos into confidence last year.

“In fact the function held to get the new idol in the temple was attended by over 2000 villagers on 23 December last year”, he said.

While Panajikar claims that the whole village is against replacing the idol, Kamat claims that only two waddos among total seven have suddenly gone against the decision.

According to Kamat, the issue has been created by a group of Pujaris belonging to Ghaisas family, whose services were discontinued by the temple committee in 2007.

Commenting on the whole issue, deputy speaker Wagh feels it should not be politicised while stating that the idol is older than the Mahajani act.

The villagers claim it is the first idol which was brought to Madkai during Portuguese regime.

The Mahajan however claim that it is a third idol, which would be now replaced. 

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Please don't change idol ... Shree navdurga is past 800 year protecting us... Don't change...

- deepti, vasco | 10 th February 2016 22:24

 

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