TRICHY: A section of Srirangam residents on Friday announced their decision to boycott the Lok Sabha elections to protest the silence of major political parties over a property dispute between them and the management of Arulmigu Ranganathaswamy temple. Residents welfare association Arangama Nagar Nala Sangam, which announced the decision to boycott the polls, said its members would hoist black flags at on their houses as a mark of protest on April 18, the day of polling.
In 2004, the Tamil Nadu government ceased the registration process of about 329 acres of land around the Srirangam temple and claimed ownership of the same. Though the residents have title deeds and patta for the disputed properties, they are not able to sell or pledge them as the temple authorities claimed rights over the properties and moved a local court in 2009 seeking ownership temple lands were looted by builders in collusion with politicians and sold to poor middle class as apartments. Politicians and builders made money. “As no political party is willing to help us in persuading the state government to cede the disputed land in favour of us, there is no use for us to participate in the democratic process,” said Arangama Nagar Nala Sangam coordinator Suresh Venkatachalam.