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Priests’ association slams BJP politics over temples

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, the association members accused the BJP of using temples to gain votes ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and said that they were unitedly against the 'false propaganda'.
Last Updated 26 February 2024, 04:29 IST

Bengaluru: Wading into the ongoing controversy about the Hindu Religious Institutions & Charitable Endowment (Amendment) Bill, 2024, the Akhila Karnataka Hindu Temple Archakas (Priests) Association has said temples must be free of politics. 

The Bill was passed in the Legislative Assembly on February 21 but rejected by the Legislative Council two days later. 

According to the Bill, 10% of the gross income of temples whose gross annual income exceeds Rs 1 crore will be put in the common pool. Also, 5% of the gross income in respect of institutions whose gross annual income exceeds Rs 10 lakh, but is less than Rs 1 crore, will be used for the pool.

At present, 10% net income of temples with a gross annual income of more than Rs 10 lakh and 5% from temples earning Rs 5-10 lakh are used for the pool.

The common pool, administered by the Rajya Dharmika Parishat, will be used for various purposes. 

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, the association members accused the BJP of using temples to gain votes ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and said that they were unitedly against the “false propaganda.” 

Referring to history, the association president K S N Deekshith said that since the rule of kings, land belonging to temples had been distributed to farmers and converted into farmlands. 

“We are presently getting only Rs 5,000 as our salary, which includes the pooja ingredients. Nobody has raised a strong voice for us like the present Muzrai Minister Ramalinga Reddy. The mentioned amount is going to be used for the upliftment of ‘C’ grade temples and for priests alone. We are very happy with this decision,” he said. 

Educationist Prof Radhakrishna said that the association and temples that come under it were free of notions such as caste and creed, adding that among 38,600 temples across the state, over 8,000 are managed by Dalits. 

The association also decided to submit memorandums to BJP and JD(S) leaders, urging them not to oppose the present government’s amendments. 

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(Published 26 February 2024, 04:29 IST)

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