Seniors take on temple

2016-11-03 09:45
The Sri Siva Soobramonair and Marieamman Temple.

The Sri Siva Soobramonair and Marieamman Temple. (File)

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A local senior citizens club has taken on a Hindu temple hierarchy after they were asked not to eat meat in the temple hall on Wednesday.

The Evergreen Senior Citizens Club, who have rented the Sri Siva Soobramoniar and Marieamman Temple hall for 23 years, said they were “kicked out” after temple officials discovered they were eating chicken for lunch.

The 57 senior citizens were going to eat lunch at 1 pm but temple officials, including the Guru Kenny Pillay, asked the group to rather eat elsewhere.

Evergreen Senior Citizens Club deputy chairperson Lallie Moodley said they always ate meat in the hall and were never told they could not do so.

Moodley said had the temple officials told them earlier that they could not consume meat on the property, “we would have respected their wishes”.

But the Langalibalele Street temple president Sunny Naidoo said the senior citizens group was warned on numerous occasions that it was “morally and ethically” wrong to consume meat on the temple property.

Naidoo said he personally met with the club’s executive committee about three years ago and asked them to refrain from eating meat there as it was disrespectful to the temple and those who worshipped in it.

“We had an undertaking from them that they would not eat meat in the hall, but we found out that last week they ate meat in the hall.

“This week, the Guru called me to say he would not conduct any prayer at the temple if the senior citizens continue to eat meat on the premises,” Naidoo said.

He said although the senior citizens were incorrect to eat meat at the temple, temple officials arranged for them to eat their lunch at the Lotus Hall nearby.

When The Witness arrived at the Sri Siva Soobramoniar and Marieamman Temple hall, the senior citizens were still seated in the hall while temple officials could be seen carrying tables and chairs to the nearby Lotus Hall.

Evergreen Senior Citizens Club trustee Devi Naidoo said the group refused to be moved to another hall for lunch.

The group of senior citizens said they respected the Hindu culture but temple officials should have given them at least seven days notice that their lunch venue had changed.

“We have consumed meat here for the past 23 years and then all of a sudden today they want us to move. We are being treated like a flock of sheep with them moving us from here to there,” Naidoo said.

She said the senior citizens group consisted of members aged between 60 and 95 and it was not easy for them to walk from hall to hall.

“This is an abuse of the senior citizens. We refuse to go and eat next door. They cannot come in at the 11th hour and tell us to eat elsewhere,” she said.

Although the Lotus Hall was set up for the senior citizens to have their lunch there, the group chose to rather pack up their lunch in take-away containers and eat it at their homes.

Read more on:    discrimination  |  pietermaritzburg  |  diwali

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