Zakir Hussain, the well-known Bharathnatiyam dancer has filed a complaint with the Srirangam police and the Tiruchi Police Commissioner after he was stopped from entering the Ranganatha Swamy temple in Srirangam, Tiruchi district citing his religion. Hussain, according to reports, has been a frequent visitor of the famous temple and that this is the first time he has been stopped. The incident occurred on Friday, December 10 and was condemned widely on social media the following day after it came to light. The dancer has alleged that he had been stopped from entering the temple and forced out at by a person called Rangarajan Narasimhan, known for his demands to remove temples from government control.
According to The New Indian Express, Hussain has said in his complaint copy that, “A man named Rangarajan Narasimhan, who does not hold any position in the temple management, stopped me in the presence of devotees.”
Hussain told Puthiya Thalaimurai in an interview that the board put up at the temple saying “Non-Hindus are not permitted beyond this point” is an old practice and that the had been visiting the temple regularly since his childhood. He also said that anyone with a faith should be able to enter temples. “As soon as I entered, he [Narasimhan] said you are a Muslim you are not allowed in here. He held be my throat and pushed me out all the way from the Kizhi Mandapam inside until the Ranga Ranga gopuram. He called me a “thulukkan” [a term used for Tamil-speaking Muslims, considered offensive] and shouted get out the whole time. Everyone at the temple heard him.” Hussain also alleges that Narasumhan used derogatory language and issued death threats.” Puthiya Thalaimurai also reports that the temple management has denied any role in the incident.
Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) minister Sekar Babu has ordered an investigation into the matter.
Narasimhan took to Twitter in response to the wide-spread criticism. He shared screenshots of a complaint he claims to have filed with the Srirangam Police along with the comment “Zakir Hussain, a Muslim, is attempting to blasphemize Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple, make a mockery of faith and the law of the land. Will @tnpoliceoffl act? Let's see. An official complaint is lodged.