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The Plight of Hindu Temples in Bharat (India)

The Hindu religion and its supporting infrastructures (temple lands, mutts, foundations and Ashrams) that preserve and promote our treasure religion are being unfairly targeted by state governments in Bharat. The result is Hindu temple lands and properties are being sold and a substantial amount of resources are being used for purposes other than Hindu temple activities, including the funding of non-Hindu (Muslim and Christian) projects and activities.

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Act allowed the state governments to take over only Hindu Temples. The Act had bestowed several powers on the governments like auditing temple funds, appointing archakas (priests), constituting a committee to monitor temple affairs, creation of a common pool fund, regulation of investment of funds and use of surplus funds. All appointments, property, finances, renovations, Pujas etc. are monitored and controlled.

On the other hand, Mosques and churches are free from government control and are not included in the Endowment Act. Holi and Krishna Janmashtami are no longer compulsory Govt. holidays. In AP, in addition even Rama Navami is not a Govt. compulsory holiday. Examples of government abuses by different states are listed below:

Andhra Pradesh:

AP State Government maintains 70,000 Employees State Endowment board supported with 15-18% of income from every Hindu temple in the state. Below are abuses under its Evangelical Christian Chief Minister YSR.

1)

In 2006, Government attempted to take over 5 out of 7 Tirumala Hills of 650 year old Tirumala Temple

2)

for Church and Tourism Purposes. In March 2006, government demolished the 1000 pillar Mantapam at Tirumala.

3)

YSR’s son blew up a temple. Recently 10 temples were demolished for a golf course.

4)

The charge that 85% percent of revenues from TTD be transferred to state exchequer was not denied

5)

by the state government. JRG Wealth Management Limited, a Christian organization, was given the contract to procure

6)

“Prasadam” materials for TTD. TTD has to contribute 22 million Rupees annually to a common good fund.

7)

Of the 420,028 acres owned by Temples in Vishakhapatnam, Kakinada, Guntur, Kurnool, Warangal and

8)

Hyderabad, 60,843 acres were allowed to be occupied illegally while 2,349 acres are in litigation. With a staff of over 70,000 in the Endowment Department, there seems to be a lack of initiative to take real steps to prevent illegal occupation. On November 23, 2005, the government decided to take complete control of Hindu mutts such as

9)

Hathiramji of Tirupati, Raghavendra Swamy mutt in Mantralayam, billions of rupees. In August 2005, government decided to sell 100,000 acres of Sri Narasimha Swamy Temple in

Simhachalam and other nearby Temples. 10) On March 14, 2006, government auctioned 3,000 acres of Temple lands in East Godavari District. 11) Govt. added a 50% surcharge on Maha Shivaratri day to make it difficult for poor Hindu devotees to visit temples.

12) Govt. allocates 11 million Rupees to Churches for their repairs and renovations. 13) Govt. allocates 65 million Rupees to Mosques for their repairs and renovations. 14) Per 8/22/2006 GO 21, Govt. allocated Rs. 80,000 for each church for it’s repairs and renovations and 15 million Rupees for constructing a new church. 15) On December 18, 2006, the state government announced that it is considering giving subsidy for Christians to travel to Bethlehem.

Karnataka:

1)

Most of the money received from temples is diverted to Muslims and Christians.

2)

e.g., in 2003, 790 million Rupees were generated from about 200,000 temples. From that, Temples received only 71 million Rupees while madarsas and hajj subsidy received.591.5 million Rupees and Churches received 127.5 million Rupees. Diversion of Temple money to other religious organizations could cause as many as 50,000 of the

3)

260,000 temples in Karnataka to close down within five years. Many ancient temples are in extremely poor condition, and their managements and priests carp about

4)

inadequate funds. Even salaries are not disbursed regularly, and priests are forced to survive on donations made by devotees in the Aarti plate. All the hereditary Temples and Mutts have to contribute 5% of their revenues to the Government.

5)

In November 2006, the state government announced a grant of 30 million Rupees for the construction of a Hajj House (for Muslims).

Tamil Nadu:

Sri Shankaracharya was arrested on false charges, installed the statues of anti Hindu Periyar in front of Sri Rangapatnam Temple against the will of Hindus and High Court, and illegally encroached on the Temple lands.

Kerala:

1)

Guruvayur Temple money was diverted to other governmental projects denying the improvements for 45

2)

Hindu Temples. Church-backed encroachers occupied “huge areas of forest land, running into more than a million acres

3)

near Sabarimala while the government denied the permission to use few acres to provide amenities to Ayyappa devotees. Diluted the rituals at Sabarimala and levied taxes on the income of the Temples.

4)

Grabbed the forest land of Ayyappa Temple.

5)

No state government since independence had ever dared to take over one single church or mosque or just one Rupee of their income or an inch of their vast land holdings.

As a result, Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF) is formed to protect, preserve, promote, and maintain Hindu culture, Hindu temples, mutts, peethams, endowments, Trusts and other institutions globally. To achieve this objective, GHHF will take the necessary and appropriate actions against all laws, policies, and activities undertaken by any government, which undermine the existence of the Temples. The ultimate goal is to ensure all the Hindu Temples and other Hindu institutions become independent of state government control. GHHF is currently taking steps to challenge the Endowment Act in the High Court and Supreme Court. To this end, GHHF established an organization in the name of Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samiti in Hyderabad on December 8, 2006.

If you need any further information on this matter or any documentation for the above cited examples, we will be happy to provide. Please contact: V. V. Prakasa Rao, 601-856-4783 H/ 601-918-7111; Prasad

Yalamanchi 630-832-2665; Vinay Boppana 248-842-6964; Satyanarayan Dosapati dharmasanatana@gmail.com.

We request you to sign the Online Petition to stop government interference in

732-939-2060. E-mail:

Temple matters.

Additional Sources:

‘Harvesting Our Souls’ by Arun Shourie.

‘Hindus Under Siege: The way out’ by Dr. Subramanian Swamy