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Kerala: Debate rages on allowing non-Hindus in temples
May 28, 2007 17:24 IST
Last Updated: May 28, 2007 19:40 IST
The Left Front government in Kerala on Monday favoured a legislation to allow non-Hindus in temples even as a meeting of vedic scholars and priests came out strongly against government intervention in customs and rituals of the shrines.
Kerala Cooperation and Devaswom Minister G Sudhakaran told reporters that the LDF government was of the opinion that all believers should be allowed to worship in temples.
The government would think of bringing in a legislation in this regard after consulting with all people concerned, he said.
"The matter has to be discussed with Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and if necessary, we will bring in a law," he added, reacting to Guruvayur temple's high priest statement that he only followed existing rules and it was for the government to change the rules.
The conduct of puniyaham (purification) after the visit of Union Minister Vayalar Ravi's son Ravikrishna on the ground that his mother hailed from a Christian family has sparked a statewide debate on entry of non-Hindus into the temple.
After the issue of allowing renowned singer Yesudas, a Christian, came to the fore, a debate on the temple entry was going on in the state and at the national level also.
People from all walks of life have supported the stand taken by the government.
Guruvayur Devaswom authorities were forced to keep in abeyance a decision on the request of Sudhakaran to permit Yesudas to worship in Guruvayur after protests from certain quarters.
A meeting of religious scholars convened at the initiative of the Kerala Yoga Kshema Sabha, an organisation of Namboodiri Brahmins, at Thrissur, passed a resolution demanding non-believers should not be included in the temple administration and allied bodies, Yogakshema Sabha general secretary Sreekumar Thamaraplly told reporters.
The meeting, however, decided to set up a five-member committee of acharyas to explore the possibilities of reforming temple practices and traditions in tune with times.
The meeting was called in the wake of the controversy sparked by purification rites conducted in the Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple after the visit of Ravikrishna.
Though some participants wanted the meet to adopt a resolution demanding the Devaswom Minister's resignation for his being a non-believer, it was dropped due to objection from a majority of those assembled to avoid a confrontation with the government, Yogakshema Sabha sources said.
Rahul Eswar, spokesperson of Sabarimala Temple, said he had spoken to Sudhakaran and there was no need for bringing a law. He said if a law was brought, the chance of its standing legal scrutiny is 'very less'.