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Hindu Munnani was founded in 1980 or 1982 by Shri Ramagopalan in the backdrop of the Meenakshipuram conversions. Since then, it has been lobbying for the rights of the Hindus, fighting the Islamic right-wing and radical Islamic political groups and vehemently opposing Christian conversions.
The Hindu Munnani website describes its objectives as follows:
- To wrest Hindu temples from government control and entrust them to the care of a public body.
- To fight for a Common Civil Code.
- To strive for compulsory enforcement of family planning.
- To strive for enaction of Anti-Conversion law.
- Ban on cow slaughter
- Liberation of Hindu shrines at Ayodhya, Kasi and Mathura.
- Repeal of Article 370
- To protect Hindu rights and interests.
The motto of Hindu Munnani is Vadhadu (வாதாடு),Poradu (போராடு),Parindhu Pesu (பரிந்து பேசு) which could be translated roughly into English as Defend, Fight and Speak in Support.
The Hindu Munnani first came to limelight in 1982 when it began to mobilize the Hindu population of Ramanathapuram district in response to the Meenakshipuram conversions. Since the, the Hindu Munnani has often espoused the cause of Hindus, the Hindu religion and Hindu culture.
However, the most remarkable achievement of the Hindu Munnani was the organization of Vinayaka Chathurthi processions in Tamil Nadu. On May 16, 2006, the Hindu Munnani organized the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the installation of the shivalinga in the Jalakanteswarar temple in Vellore
Right from its genesis, the Hindu Munnani was involved in a number of controversies. Its genesis was coeval with the Meenakshipuram conversions and the Hindu-Muslim and Hindu-Christian riots which followed. On February 19, 1981, about 200 Dalit families in the village of Meenakshipuram in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu converted to Islam as a protest against discrimination by caste Hindus and changed the name of their village to Rehmatpuram. The Hindu Munnani was active in organizing a mass movement and bringing the converted Dalits back into the Hindu fold. In March 1982, when riots broke up between Hindus and Christians at Mandaikadu in Kanyakumari district, the Hindu Munnani played an active role. However, the Hindu organizations are often accused of promoting Sanskritization in order to resist the efforts of Christian missionaries.
The Vinayaga Chathurthi celebrations organized by the Hindu Munnani were often accompanied by sporadic incidents of communal violence. In 1993, there were bomb attacks made on the R.S.S. state headquarters at Chintadripet, Chennai. Islamic organizations were found guilty for the blasts and a crackdown was launched on extremist Islamic organizations. During the visit of BJP leaders Advani and Vajpayee to Coimbatore in 1998, a series of 13 blasts rocked the city killing over 58 people.
Recently, there have been clashes between the Hindu Munnani and the DMK over the remarks made by BJP leader Vedanti on DMK President and Chief Minister Karunanidhi. DMK cadres attacked the Hindu Munnani state headquarters in Chennai on motorbikes.
In November 2007, a photo of Tamil actress Kushboo sitting cross-legged with slippers in front of idols of Hindu goddesses landed the actress in the middle of a huge controversy. A complaint was lodged by Gurumurthy a Hindu Munnani leader. The Hindu Munnani President Rama Gopalan said that Kushboo's act was unbecoming of a public figure and demanded a public apology from her. In June 2008, the Hindu Munnani threatened to block Kamal Hassan's film Dasavatharam on the ground that certain scenes in the film affected the sentiments of Hindus.
In 1981, Hindu Munnani leader Thirukovilur Sundaram was murdered at R. S. Puram in Coimbatore by Islamic fundamentalists. A Muslim platform speaker called Abdul Latheef who ridiculed Hinduism in a public speech was murdered through possible involvement of Hindu Munnani activists. In retaliation, a Hindu Munnani activist called Veera Ganesh was stabbed to death in Coimbatore on August 30, 1989. In December 1993, on the first anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition, there was widespread violence in the Kottaimedu area of Coimbatore. Violence also occurred during the fifth anniversary of the demolition in 1997 and also during the aftermath of the Coimbatore bomb blasts in 1998.
Several assassination attempts have been made on the life of Hindu Munnani founder and President Ramagopalan. Another leader of the Hindu Munnani and State President of the organization, Rajagopalan succumbed to stab wounds.
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