The Tamil Nadu government has denied permission for a mutt’s religious ritual in which a seer is carried on the shoulders of the Matt’s followers in a palanquin. Rationalists in the state have opposed the ritual, known as Pattina Pravesam, citing human rights violations. The Mayiladuthurai district administration has refused permission for the event, citing potential law and order issues and citing the Indian constitution’s prohibition on forced labour.

The state’s denial of the ritual has sparked debate.

Mayiladuthurai Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) J Balaji issued the ban order on April 27. According to the order, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) informed the district administration that allowing Pattina Pravesam would cause law and order issues because some organisations, including the Dravidar Kazhagam (DK), are opposed to the practise and plan to protest. He had also submitted a report on the subject. The order cited three reasons for the denial of permission: the DSP’s report, Article 23 of the Indian Constitution (prohibition of human trafficking and forced labour), and a potential law and order issue.

The order came as preparations were being made for Masilamani Desika Gnanasambandha Paramachariya Swamigal, the 27th pontiff of Dharmapuram Adheenam, to participate in the Pattina Pravesam on May 22.

Meanwhile, the 293rd pontiff of Madurai Aadheenam, Sri La Sri Harihara Sri Gnanasambanda Desika Paramachariya Swamigal, and Mannarkudi Jeeyer Sri Sendalangara Senbaga Ramanuja Swamigal paid a visit to Thanjavur’s Kalimedu village, where 11 people were electrocuted during a temple chariot procession. While speaking to the media in support of the Dharmapuram Adheenam, the Madurai seer claimed that one religion was being controlled in a country that claims to be secular.