While Karnataka’s Hindus are rejoicing the announcement by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai last week to free Hindu temples from the clutches of administrative hassles, opposition parties especially Congress have started showing their aggressive resistance to this proposition.
As you must be aware that BJP in its 2018 election manifesto had promised to free Hindu temples from government control, and CM has announced that an act will be proposed in the next budget session.
Congress is trying to turn this into a casteist issue and calling it an attempt by BJP to take over the temples and hand it over to Sangh Parivar, which will ultimately be handled by upper-caste Hindus.
The former Karnataka CM Siddharamaiah tweeted a series of messages saying the move goes against the people and that this is an attempt to deny religious rights guaranteed to the last man standing by a democratic republic and to hand it over to a select few.
Another senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar said that Congress is opposed to freeing temples from state control. “The state’s temples belong to the people. The BJP government in the state has decided to transfer this public property to the workers of the BJP and members of the Sangh Parivar. This is an anti-Hindu move and the people of the state, as well as Gods, would not forgive them. This is a huge blunder. Congress is not anti-Hindu; it is the BJP which is really against the interests of the Hindus.”
However, the former minister and BJP national general secretary CT Ravi has slammed the opposition parties and said that Congress does not have the mindset to address issues pertaining to the majority community.
Ravi said the Britishers in India took over the temples not because of the respect they had for the Gods, but for the income, the temples generated, and the BJP is bringing a law to remove this practice. “It is a matter of faith, and it is given by devotees with the same in mind. The government doesn’t have to run on this donation money, it is the property of society. That money should be used for developing temples and social work. There is no need for this money to run the government,” he said.
There are 180,000 temples in Karnataka, among which 35,500 come under the Muzarai department. As per the records of the Muzarai department, there are 207 ‘A’ grade temples that get an annual income of more than ₹25 lakh, 139 ‘B’ grade temples that have an income between ₹5 lakh and ₹24.99 lakh. These ‘A’ and ‘B’ grade temples are required to submit accounts annually, as mandated by the law.