Beware of fake websites, HR&CE officials caution devotees

Representative image

Chennai: Taking a serious view of complaints on bogus and unofficial websites which allegedly cheat users of money, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) Department has issued a warning against such online activities.

An official said, “Devotees are asked to be careful while paying money online for poojas, darshan and pilgrimages on websites claiming to be the official portals of HR & CE and temples. Several people were cheated while pre-booking darshans and sevas.”

The department has also asked temples which come under its jurisdiction to display notices against such activities and asked devotees to be vigilant and report any suspicious site to the police.

“We are creating awareness so that devotees know about this. People are being cheated as these unauthorised websites accept money for online poojas and pilgrimage to several temples,”  he said.

“Many websites are not approved. Devotees can register at our official site (www.tnhrce.org) or they can go in person to the temples for special poojas for registration and get the receipt for them,” he explained.

File photo of Ekambareswarar Temple.

The clarification has come even as the HR & CE is battling allegations of idol thefts and misuse of funds.On 31 July, additional commissioner of the department, M Kavitha, was arrested in connection with the alleged misappropriation of gold in making the panchaloha idol of Lord Somaskandar for Ekambareswarar temple in Kanchipuram. 

She had, however, claimed that she had merely executed the orders of her superior(s).

Also, officials of the department recently alleged that they had been facing  heavy workload due to a large number of vacancies. Hence, the State government should take immediate steps to fill up vacancies, they said.

Naomi N