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BJP, Congress spar over Hindu temples' funds in Karnataka

Government sources said the purpose behind the bill is to provide facilities and safety to pilgrims within the jurisdiction of Group 'A' temples.
Last Updated 22 February 2024, 16:59 IST

Bengaluru: The BJP on Thursday accused the Congress government of eyeing revenues of Hindu temples, after the Legislative Assembly passed a Bill enhancing the common pool of funds meant for the upkeep of shrines.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah described the BJP’s allegation as “misleading” and “polarising”.

According to the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 10 per cent of the gross income of Muzrai temples whose gross annual income exceeds Rs 1 crore will be put in the common pool. Also, 5 per cent of the gross income in respect of institutions whose gross annual income exceeds Rs 10 lakh but does not exceed Rs 1 crore will be used for the pool.

“Why are only Hindu temples targeted for revenue, leaving out other religions?” BJP state president B Y Vijayendra said.

“This not only reflects the deplorable condition of this government but also shows its abject hate towards Hindu Dharma. Temple funds should be dedicatedly utilized for the renovation of temples and to facilitate the work beneficial to devotees, rather than diverting it for other purposes, which would be an injustice and betrayal of people’s religious beliefs,” he charged.

Siddaramaiah said the BJP is misrepresenting facts for “political gain”. In a statement, he said, “There has always been a mandate to create a common pool since the enactment of the Act in 1997.”

The common pool fund has been utilized only for the religious purposes of Hindu institutions since the Act came into force, and it will continue to be used for the same purposes in the future. It has not been utilized for any other purposes or the benefit of followers of other religions,” he said.

“These provisions underscore a commitment to using temple funds for the welfare and upliftment of the Hindu community,” the chief minister said.

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(Published 22 February 2024, 16:59 IST)

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