Chennai: “The Tamilnadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department is doing grave injustice to Hindus of the State. Right from paving the way for encroachers to stealing temples funds and denying permission for kumbhabishekams, they are on a temple-destroying spree,” said BJP national secretary H Raja today.
He said this at a media conference here while announcing a massive one-day protest fast that he will be heading on 2 September between 7 am and 6 pm at Valluvar Kottam.
Speaking at the meet organised by the Hindu Temples Reclaim Movement in which he is one of the conveners, Raja, said, “The Madras High Court has recently delivered an order regarding temple assets reclamation in the State.”
“It has given a host of guidelines: Notice should be given to all the tenants on temple lands to hand over the rent or lease amount within two weeks. Those who dont pay the rent in four weeks should be ousted. Officials should rent or lease temple lands at market rate and not as per government guideline values. All rent / lease agreements older than five years should be submitted in court. Committees should be formed in all zones and they should identify all the encroached temple lands and should submit a report in six weeks. Action should be taken against corrupt officials. All temple funds should be utilised for temple upkeep only,” he added.
Talking about the present state of Tamilnadu temples, the BJP national secretary, said, ‘There 38,468 temples under HR&CE Department. Of this, worship does not take place in 9,000 temples. Over 2,000 of the temples do not exist. As of 1986, 5.25 lakh acres were with temples. But in 2018, only 4.78 lakh acres are available and they are fully encroached. More than 20 lakh people reside illegally on temple lands. By not renting out temple lands properly, we are losing close to Rs 10,000 crore every year. Also, each municipality or Corporation can contribute up to Rs 15 crore for education of Hindu children. But the government is not taking the step.”
Raja called upon all like-minded people to participate in the protest. He asked them to bring court judgements in favour of temples, if any, to the protest venue on the day.