Sri Vidyaprasanna Tirtha Swami, the seer of Kukke Sri Subrahmanya Mutt, is on a hunger strike protesting against the Forest Department’s action of cutting of the drinking water supply pipeline to the mutt.
The seer sat on strike on Saturday afternoon after water supply from a natural stream coming through a pipeline running through the reserve forest was cut off, sources said. However, Subrahmanya Range Forest Officer Thyagaraj said the pipeline was already removed when his staff visited the reserve forest area. They had not removed the pipeline, he maintained.
Though using natural stream water for domestic purposes is a common practice in the Malnad region, the department would have to act if reserve forest area is disturbed in anyway or when specific complaints are made, the RFO said.
A few members of the Subrahmanya Nagarika Hita Rakshana Vedike had earlier complained to the department that the mutt was illegally drawing water through the reserve forest by laying a pipeline, and demanded its removal. They had also sat on a dharna.
The protest and counter protest go back to the core issue of the tussle between government-administered Sri Kukke Subrahmanya Temple and the Kukke Subrahmanya Mutt, with the former taking objections to the latter offering identical sevas, including Sarpa Samskara, Ashlesha Bali etc. to devotees.
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