Protest rages as TTD eyes to sell devotee-donated asset

#SaveTTD: Widespread protest against Tirupati temple trust move to sell properties donated by devotees

The earnings of the richest Hindu temple with an annual budget of over Rs 3000 crore has been hit as the hill shrine is shut for pilgrim darshan for over two months now because of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Devotees of Lord Venkateshwara, Hindu groups and the political parties in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are united in their opposition to a plan of the Tirupati temple trust to sell some of the properties donated by worshippers.

DH was the first newspaper to report the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams’ contentious decision, on May 15. The TTD’s move to earn revenues by liquidating assets like land parcels donated by devotees to one of the most famous Hindu deities has come under severe criticism.

The earnings of the richest Hindu temple with an annual budget of over Rs 3000 crore has been hit as the hill shrine is shut for pilgrim darshan for over two months now because of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Read: COVID-19: TTD board defends assets sale as nothing new; shifts blame to previous board under TDP regime

While a decision was taken earlier to auction 50 immovable properties in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu worth Rs 24 crore; according to the TTD officials, more such properties were being identified to provide revenue for the temple to tide over the crisis this year.  

However, devotees state the scheme as hurting sentiments. A hashtag #SaveTTD has been trending on social media platforms like Facebook and twitter.

Tweeting the DH story, C S Rangarajan, the famous priest of Hyderabad’s Chilkur aka “Visa” Balaji temple, said, “AP Dharmika Parishad which was dissolved in 2014 should be revived with Peetadhipathis & eminent devotees to find solution for unprecedented financial crisis affecting Hindu temples including Tirumala. Liquidating devotees' donated assets is not the right approach.”

The BJP has called TTD’s decision “anti-Hindu” and demanded Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy to direct the trust to withdraw the bid immediately. While questioning the Reddy government’s dominion in selling the devotee donated assets, party’s AP unit chief Kanna Lakshmi Narayana has called the cadres, Hindu groups and Venkateshwara devotees to sit on one-day hunger strike as a mark of protest, at their respective homes on Tuesday.   

TDP leader and former TTD Chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadav accused YSRCP leaders of hatching the plan to make money. Jana Sena too vehemently opposed the assets sale.

“If TTD sells away land, this shall set a bad precedent and even other Hindu Religious institutions might imitate it. This shall also hurt the sentiments and beliefs of millions of devotees,” film-star turned politician Pawan Kalyan said in a series of tweets.

The Jana Sena chief also retweeted Rangarajan’s tweet with DH story. 

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