AP govt to evict non-Hindu tenants from temple lands

AP govt to evict non-Hindu tenants from temple lands

AP govt to evict non-Hindu  tenants from temple lands

Armed with a GO issued in November last, the Andhra Pradesh government has embarked on a mission to  evict non-Hindu tenants cultivating land belonging to 21,000 temples big and small in the state.

Residual Andhra Pradesh has more than 2.5 lakh acres of land categorised as endowment lands donated to temples by donors. Rights to cultivate these lands are generally auctioned every three years through a notification issued by the Executive officer or the hereditary trustee of the temple based on its category. Recently, endowments department sent notices to tenants to submit certificates that they are Hindus in order to continue to cultivate the temple lands.

The GO 425 dated 9 November 2015, which was meant to amend certain provisions of the Endowment Act, stipulates that “no land belonging to a Hindu temple or Math may be alienated to anyone on a permanent basis. No person professing other than Hinduism as his religion is entitled to obtain lease either through tender–cum–public auction or otherwise.” Violation of the rules would attract eviction. The GO further stated: “If the lessee fails to comply with the conditions of lease or becomes a defaulter, and fails to hand over possession, the tenant shall compulsorily be evicted by the executive authority with the assistance of Police, invoking the provisions of section 84 and 86 of the Act treating him as an encroacher in the order passed under section 83(4) or 85(1) of the Act, apart from initiating other actions specified in these Rules.”

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