Dr. Durgesh Samant
A huge general meeting was organized on 20 April 2007 to oppose the (Blind) Faith Eradication bill and Temple Takeover Bill. Below is the guidance given by Dr. Durgesh Samant, national spokesperson of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.
The HJS has been protesting over Temple Takeover Bill since the last 10 months. To know why the HJS is opposing this bill tooth and nail you need to know the background. In the state of Andhra Pradesh temples have already been brought under government control.
- A government department called ‘Deva Dharma Daya’ has been formed. Accordingly 33,901 temples are under the control of this department.
- As per available records from the statewide, the collective land of different societies is 37, 637 acres.
- The state Govt. has no clear information with them about these lands.
- The salaries and allowances of all employees and officers in this department are paid from temple funds. In addition the temple has to pay 15% contribution fund and 3% common good fund amounting to a total of 18% which also goes into the government treasury.
- About 32, 000 temples are in depletable and pathetic condition.
- Despite all this, the temples there are maintained very badly. The priests serving in the temple are paid a meagre sum of Rs 250 – Rs 1000 per month. In some instances even this has not been paid for the past 5 years.
- Several temples have no priest to perform the daily worship, in some daily holy sacrament is not offered to the deity nor is a lamp lit at twilight.
- The schools imparting knowledge on the Vedic Sciences run by the temples have been forced to close down. Other facilities such as providing food and shelter to devotees and traditional customs like the singing of devotional songs have also been stopped.
- Chariots used for temple processions are broken down. The department has severed the relation of society with the temples.
- The staff appointments are also done according to their will and choice.
- The ‘Deva, Daya, Dharma’ department destroyed the connection between societies and temples and they have established an evil society of their own.
- There are instances of giving the temple land for Rs. 1/- per acre.
- The temple lands are being given as gifts in the marriages.
- Structures like petrol pumps, cinema houses, hotels, lodges have sprung up on temple land.
- Ornaments are missing/vanishing in the most of the temples.
- Statues of deities have been stolen through out the state.
- It becomes customary to allow the private establishments and as well as other Govt. department officials for unauthorized occupation.
- Please note that all this has occurred under the leadership of the Andhra Pradesh’s congress Chief Minister YS Rajashekhara Reddy.
HJS, Shivsena, Varkari, Temple Trusts Representatives on stage
All this and other information has been collected over the last three years through their hard work by the ‘Hindu Devalay Parirakshan Samiti’, of Hyderabad formed by the Hindus there, because the government does not have proper information or is not ready to divulge it.
Attitude of Samuel Reddy government towards other religions
The Reddy government gives subsidies to Muslims for the Haj pilgrimage. In August 2006, grant of Rs 80,000 were allotted for repairs and maintenance of every church and Rs 1and1/2 lakhs to build new churches. A noteworthy point is that Christian missionaries have increased their activities in Tirupati, Sree Salem and Bhadrachalam.
Hindu temples in neglect under Reddy government
Veena Noble Das a Christian was appointed as the Chancellor of the Padmavati University run by the Tirupati Temple trust. No sooner did she arrive than the picture of Lord Venkateshwara was removed from the premises. All this was revealed to the Hindu committee probing the veracity of facts during a public hearing. Though the temple is in possession of 5 lakh acres of land the government has records of only 3 lakh 76 thousand. On the occasion of Mahashivratri the government charged devotees 50% extra charges. There are instances of temple land being sold off for as little as Re 1per sq foot. Temple idols and ornaments have been stolen.
Is this a tactic of the government to form yet another ‘corporation’ rather than a genuine take over?
I have tried to show you the picture of how there is disgrace when the temples are taken over by the government and what happens when it is a non–Hindu who is the ruler. Already temples in other states like Kerala, and Karnataka have come under government rule. In Maharashatra temples like Sree Saibaba Sansthan and the Siddhivinayak temple are examples where corruption is occurring. What happens when the money donated to temple with faith by devotees falls into the hands of the government is clear from the above instances. So in the end there is no religious practice, no faith just a corporation of power hungry politicians.
If temples are taken over by the government then they will certainly not stand by the Hindus
Suppose we have to protest against massacre of Hindus in Kashmir and we need a hall to hold a public meeting will it be possible to do this in a temple taken over by the government which claims to be secular? It is impossible for the temple administration to support Hindus who are protesting against anti Hindu policies of the government.
Temples are the shrines of society!
If this is so then imagine the plight of society if the government takes over these temples. The example of temple take over in Andhra Pradesh has been explained to make the picture clear. The government justifies the take over of temples saying that enormous funds lie unutilised in banks and could be used for social causes. Tax officials constantly maintain vigilance over temple wealth. Every temple with surplus funds performs some social mission or the other on its own so what is the necessity to take over the temple?
Temple funds are meant for Hindu causes
It is obvious that the government has an eye on temple funds. It justifies this by stating that it will be used for social causes. But does the government not collect tax from the citizens for this purpose. The very government which wants to grab our temple money does not want to spend a pie on giving religious education to Hindus or maintaining their temples. So in such circumstances the money accumulated by Hindus in temples with immense faith is meant for such Hindu causes and protection of their faith. If government takes over the temples, we need not say more on where the money will go.
All these government establishments are another name for corruption
On one hand the government makes proclamations of dividing national income equally among all citizens as per communist principles but on the other, see what is actually happening. In the post Independence era both, the communist and socialist principles were adopted by the country. They said that they were running all the corporations for the welfare of the public and tax was being levied upon citizens for this purpose. However, all these government establishments are outstanding examples of corruption and incompetence. It is clear that the government cannot run the economy . In 1991 the country came to a state where it had to sell off its gold. That is precisely why every government establishment is being privatised. Is it not paradoxical that today the same government which wishes to privatise every government organisation like the state transport corporation, electricity board , etc is making an attempt to take over temples which for centuries have remained private bodies and have supported themselves without government assistance?
The HJS has perceived the crafty government strategy against Hindus
The HJS realising the crafty moves of the government to take over temples with the sole aim of procuring its wealth and knowing fully well that Hindus will continue to donate money to temples faithfully even if it is taken over by the government, has launched a wide spread agitation to protest against this move.
Source: Daily Sanatan Prabhat
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