Members of Tamil Nadu Pottery Workers’ (Kulalar) Association have urged the State government to lift the ban on using
agal vilakkus
(clay lamps) in temples as it would hit the potters’ community badly.

In a petition submitted to Dindigul Collector T.G. Vinay here on Monday, association’s State youth wing vice-president A. Selvam said traditionally devotees had been lighting lamps in front of deities, including
navagrahas
, as part of their prayers.

Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department had already banned the use of camphor in temples and advised devotees to use only
agal vilakkus
. However, a recent oral order had banned use of lamps too.

The pottery industry was already facing tremendous competition from goods made of other materials such as plastic and metals. The HR & CE department’s directive to use only
agal vilakkus
in temples had given them a ray of hope.

“Now, the ban will totally wipe out the pottery sector and hit the livelihood of a large number of people involved in it,” the petition said. Small vendors selling
agal vilakkus
in front of temples would also be affected by the ban.

Special prayers at Amman temples across the State would mark the Tamil month of Aadi that began on Tuesday. Women offered prayers at the temples by lighting lamps and offering pongal during the month, they said, highlighting the importance of
agal vilakkus
in traditional worship.

Stating that the government had no right to intervene in the religious beliefs of Hindus, the association members warned of a State-wide protest, if the ban on use of clay lamps was not lifted.

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