The order of the HR & CE Commissioner has angered devotees as it is the duty of the temple to renovate village temples from the funds already collected through the temples under its control. Ordering the temples to part with their funds again is a both illegal and breach of trust say petitioners.
Yet another directive has been issued from the Principal Secretary and Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) to Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple, Thiruchendur Subrmania Swamy temple, Mylapore Kapaleewarar temples and 17 other temples to part with varying amounts totaling 10 crores. The amount is to be spent to renovate and for maintenance of village temples.
Tamil Nadu HR and CE department vide circular on 22nd April directed 47 temples to contribute substantial amount from their surplus fund to the Chief relief Fund compulsorily. Madras High Court on 4th May passed an order directing the TN government to withdraw the impugned order. Again the HR and CE Commissioner vide GO 42275/2019/QU1 dated June 26th, 2020 has directed 20 temples to send cheque for varying amounts for the upkeep of the village temples for the year 2021’
Srirangam Rangarajan Narasimhan, who is waging a war against HR and CE told this correspondent “I think looting of the surplus fund of the temple can be the objective of the HR and CE. We have already seen in April how HR and CE tried to take surplus funds to CM Corona Relief fund. At that time I have clearly explained the ways the surplus funds should be used. Now on 26th June, the HR and CE Commissioner wrote again to 20 temples. Explaining further he said “This is also an attempt to mis-appropriate surplus funds. In both occasions, the amount was the same“.
Rangarajan said “Officials had cut copy and pasted last year order (highlighted in red above). I do not know how many crores they have looted by this way all these years. They merely say 1000 odd village temple and no details, what purpose. This is only to loot the funds”. The current GO was issued ten days after withdrawing the May order. How a government could decide that a commissioner can order transfer of surplus funds. What is the nexus between Government and Temples”. Will it issue similar orders to Waqf board and Christian run churches? If it does, that too is illegal. Rs 1,00,000 for 1,000 temples means 1,000 crores. It is a clear day light robbery and fraud. What it means renovation? Thousands of temples are in poor condition sans renovation? Where were the funds gone? Why the cheque should be drawn in Commissioner’s name? Should not it go directly to the needy or the identified temples”.
He said the same has to be taken to court to expose their tenacity in continuously doing wrongs. The HR and CE misuses the rights given to them. They need to be punished and imprisoned, he says.
TR Ramesh, president of Indic Collective Trust has sent a legal notice on 8th July to the Executive Officer, Sri Subramania Swamy Temple, Tiruchendur to outright reject the directives of the Commissioners and his instrumentalities. In a five page letter, he said by this directive, albeit illegally, a total transfer of funds Rs10 crores from 20 temples belonging to various Dharmic Sampradayas. He said transfer of funds proposed was ostensibly to be carried out under sec.36 of TN HR and CE Act, 1959. Elaborating further, Ramesh said, trustees have not been appointed in most of the temples which is required under Sec.47 and HR and CE continues with the illegal and shameful practice of EOs also claiming to function as the “Fit person” of the very same temple, has been illicitly, going on since January 2011. He said only Trustees with due qualification under sec.25A and validly appointed can decide on transfer of surplus funds. Government servants including Secretary to government or commissioner of HR and CE can’t decide.
“In the last 3 months, temples across the state have been closed due to lockdown orders of both Central and State governments. There have been hardly any incomes for them. Ramesh said income from the properties of Tiruchendur Temple has not been realized for more than 2 decades and there is a huge shortfall. Pointing out that “direction of the Commissioner and/ or Additional Commissioner (in-charge)-Tiruppani asking 20 temples to send amounts earmarked against the respective temples is out right illegal. The direction is in fact a criminal breach of trust directing to misappropriate the funds of a Hindu Religious institution, besides being violations of the due process of laid down in law and violation of the fundamental property rights bestowed by the Constitution of India on Dharmic Sampradayas or section thereof under its article 26.
Properties of Hindu temples worth crores have been encroached and illegally sold by many powerful forces, many in collusion with HR & CE officials. Instead of plugging the loopholes and recover encroached lands and properties, the HR & CE is going about taxing Hindu temple again.
HR & CE Order to temples to part with their funds
Ramesh warned that as an IAS officer he must be aware that if such mis-appropriations of funds by a public servant should take place, notwithstanding directives to that from Commissioner or his instrumentalities, they can attract criminal proceedings against such officer and other co-conspirators who are hand in glove. He also asked him to outright reject the directive and if issued cheque for the “amount, take necessary steps to return the funds” He also sought a reply within three days.
A devotee said in Madhavaram property worth Rs 200 crores belonging to HR and CE has been let out for a meager rent of Rs 30,000 per annum. The agricultural lands measuring 10 acres in three different survey numbers belongs Pidari Amman Koil has in 2005 Master plan classified as residential category, but the same has been leased as agricultural land.
In Tirunelveli (now Tenkasi) district) Kadanallur Sri Annamalaiyar koil 3.93 acre land was sold using forged documents. Madras HC cancelled the illegal sale in 2018, the three joint commissioners, who instead of respecting the orders, sold extra 4 acres( totaling 7.93 acres) to build Mosque and permitted to build 197 houses. It came to light that Rs 50 crores has been given as a bribe by the said community not to cancel the sale deed ( 1113/2004) . The locals requested the Commissioner to cancel sale immediately and take action against the officials.
On 10th July, Madras HC has directed the TN government to submit report on what action taken to redeem the Parrys corner Kacchaleeswarar Temple properties within 2 weeks.
Vedic Research Centre Bala Gauthaman said for financial years 2019-20,2020-21 CM had announced in state assembly 8.5 crores has been allocated to lay road to Tiruttani Murugan Temple. Why should the HR and CE use its funds to lay approach road to Temple? Is it the duty of the government? Under 110 rule he said26.2 crores has been allocated to destilt the temple tanks, build compound walls . As per the ( march 24 HR and CE report that Palani temple fund to be used to build check dam across Palar river and creation of new posts. Likewise Madurai Kalla azhagar temple fund 3.31crore was utilized to implement drinking water project. Temple funds are being mis-used for developmental projects which are to be met by the government from its own resources. By their admission that temple tanks would be destilted from Temple funds and Government funds, it is clear case of swindling. If the existing staff could not maintain temples properly as envisioned in the HR and CE act what is the need for creation of new jobs and vacancies? It is only to favour some get jobs. 92 percent of rentals are not collected and no registers are maintained.it is a place for loot anybody is the order of the day.
Land sharks, it is alleged, are trying to grab 2,000 acres of vacant land owned by Kandaswamy Temple at Tiruporur and Alwandhar Nayakkar Charity at Mahabalipuram. This came to the fore when a DMK MLA allegedly shot at his rival.
About 110 acre Rubber Plantation belonged to Thriuvattaru Adi Kesava Perumal koil (Kanyakumari district) at Anaiadi . which was reclaimed from the encroachers with court intervention ,is again going back to their grips.
Salem- Vazhapadi Special executive Magistrate has written to joint commissioner of HR and CE to take action against temple officials for allowing illegal tenants on its properties.
Campaign to free Temples from HR & CE control
Shady deals to usurp temple and promboke lands ,are going on the with the unholy nexus between the government officials, elected representatives and real estate mafia. Free them from the government control is the only solution.
Temple Worshippers Society president T R Ramesh has launched new campaign to free temples from HR and CE. He has requested all to use this as display pic on whats app, Face book & twitter and promote it among friends and relatives too. He said , a case to FREE all temples of Bharat, is on in the Supreme court. Ramesh has underlined the importance to keep the campaign to be backed with social media pressure. He wants public opinion to be created that Hindus have been discriminated against –mostly unfairly.
“Social media pressure on Govt plus Courts is very Important in getting a quick & positive decision in favour of our just demands. We peaceful & tolerant Hindus have suffered discrimination for far too long- 73 long years !!! We have helplessly Watched our Temples getting LOOTED & we have suffered silently. Enough is Enough ! Lets strive to get our Temples back. Lets fight peacefully ,to win Equal Rights to freely administer our Educational Institutions & also have the right to teach our Religion to our children. Why should Hindus be Denied Equal Rights on religious grounds in Secular India?” he questions.