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Maha govt after temple wealth: VHP

By Binoy Valsan in Mumbai
April 25, 2007 00:57 IST
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The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has criticised the Maharashtra government for trying to take over the assets of the temples in the state citing the proposal of the 15th Law Commission.

All India secretary Vyankatesh Abdeo said the Parishad has decided to unleash a full frontal campaign against the government through a specially formed committee called 'Matt-Mandir Adhigrahan Virodh Samithi'.

He said the VHP has started a signature campaign of like-minded people and temple trustees.

If the government plan goes through, the trustees will have no say in temple affairs.

The 15th Law Commission under DN Chaudhury formed the Temple and Religious Organisations (administration and regulation) Act 2006 that would bring religious shrines of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis under the government and install democracy. The Act excludes all Madrasas and Masjid's registered with the Wakf Board. The flip side of the matter and the government's trump card is the mismanagement of temple funds.
"The move is an assault on Hindu religion and its followers. The government would never ever dare to bring about such a scenario at Masjids or churches" stated Abdeo.

The state has close to 4,50,000 shrines that would come under government purview if the act gets implemented. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had proposed such a stringent law post the tragic stampede at Mandra Devi Temple in Satara in 2005, which claimed 258 lives, to streamline the activities, arrangements and administration at sensitive places of worship.

"The assets of these temples are worth close to Rs 2,70,000 crore and their combined annual income is more than Rs 2,000 crores. Why should the government use the money from the temples for the betterment of members of other communities?" the VHP leader said.

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Binoy Valsan in Mumbai
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