July 18, 2024
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The TN government is digging in its heels as the dispute over the Ayodhya Mandapam takeover heats up

The Tamil Nadu government’s Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) department’s takeover of Ayodhya Mandapam has sparked a controversy in the state. The Sri Ram Samaj ran the temple in T Nagar, Chennai, until the then-J Jayalalithaa government issued an order in December 2013 to bring it under the government’s control.

However, when the HR&CE division officers carried out the order and completed the takeover of the 64-year-old temple not long ago, they were met with strong opposition, including from the BJP.

The Samaj, which has the support of a few locals and Hindu organisations, claims that the Ayodhya Mandapam is “neither a temple nor was it built with public funds,” and that the “public did not worship the temple.” They also claim that they “don’t do pujas according to Agama Sastra,” that there is “no idol consecration or worshipping,” and that the only rituals performed on specific days are “homam and Veda parayanams.”

According to Part 6(20) of the Tamil Nadu Hindu Spiritual and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959, the Sri Ram Samaj is a public temple, according to the 2013 authorities order.

“Idols and common poojas are performed.” The temple is open to the general public for pujas. They’re amassing a massive amount of money through the hundial (assortment field), which isn’t being tracked. Following complaints of mismanagement of the temple and funds by a number of members of the Samaj, an order was issued in 2013,” said an HR&CE official.

According to the Hindu Spiritual and Charitable Endowments Act 1959, the HR&CE division is responsible for more than 35,000 temples across the state. Their responsibilities include maintaining historic structures, completing renovations, and implementing welfare programmes, among other things.

While Hindu outfits and highly effective teams led by godman Jaggi Vasudev have been leading social media campaigns to “liberate Hindu temples from the clutches of the federal government,” the DMK government, which came to power last year, has reclaimed encroached temple land worth Rs 2,000 crore in various parts of the state. On April 11, as members of the BJP and a few Hindu organisations protested the takeover, Chief Minister M K Stalin defended the federal government’s decision. In response to BJP MLA Vanathi Srinivasan’s consideration movement, Stalin accused the celebration of attempting to “politicise the problem” and predicted that “they won’t succeed.”

Picture Courtesy: Google/Images are subject to copyright

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