July 12, 2007
Kerala devaswom minister G. Sudhakaran said in the Assembly on Thursday that the government was planning legislation to allow all those who believe in Hindu religion to enter temples and not just those who are born in it. Replying to a submission by Congress MLA T.N. Prathapan, the CPI (M) minister said that broad-based discussions would be held before the legislation was given final shape. Mr. Sudhakaran said that the provisions in the famous Temple Entry Proclamation of 1936 would be suitably amended for this. At present, only those who are Hindus "by birth" are being allowed into many temples. The government may amend this and allow all those who are Hindus "by faith" to enter and worship in temples.
A controversy had erupted in the State recently over the "punyaham" (purification ritual) conducted in the Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple after Union minister Vayalar Ravi's son Ravikrishna's visit. Priests of the temple said they conducted punyaham because Ravikrishna's mother Mercy Ravi was a Christian though he claimed to be a Hindu. This had triggered protests from various quarters.
The priests had earlier rejected Mr. Sudhakaran's appeal to allow playback singer K.J. Yesudas, a professed devotee of Lord Krishna, to worship there. Mr. Yesudas is a Christian. Speaking in the House, the devaswom minister said that only a small section of orthodox priests opposed the government's proposal. He recently said in an interview that the government would accept the supremacy of the priests within the sanctum sanctorum but cannot accept their diktats on who should enter the temple
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