Mathew Garments, a popular clothing store in Tiruvannamalai, had provided the vibhooti and kumkum packets as a donation to the temple.
Authorities at a temple in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvannamalai have suspended two priests after they were allegedly found involved in distributing ash packets to devotees that had Mother Teresa’s image imprinted on them.
According to sources, several hundred devotees visit the Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar Temple at Tiruvannamalai. As May 1 was a holiday on account of Labour Day, there was a huge gathering of devotees and the police and authorities had a difficult time managing the crowd.
Mathew Garments, a popular clothing store in Tiruvannamalai, had provided the vibhooti and kumkum packets as a donation to the temple. While the cover had the image of the temple deity on the front side, it had photos of Mother Teresa and the store’s name on the other side. As per reports, the temple priests or archakars didn’t notice the details on the rear of the packet.
Following the incident, members of the Hindu Munnani lodged a complaint in regard to the incident with V Kumaresan, Assistant Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department, Tiruvannamalai. They even staged a dharna at the office demanding immediate action.
After carrying out an inquiry, Kumaresan issued a statement noting that disciplinary action has been initiated against two priests—K Somanadha Gurukkal and A Muthukumarasamy Gurukkal—for distributing the packets to the devotees without seeking prior permission or informing the temple authorities.
The priests have been suspended for six months. Kumaresan said the priests had brought ‘dishonour’ to the temple and a bad name to the HR and CE department through their act.