Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (HRCE) minister Kota Srinivas Poojary has clarified that the state government has no intentions of taking over the administration of private Hindu temples. Speaking to reporters, Poojary said that the then Congress state government in 2011 had passed an order to register private temples under the Endowments Act while adding that the present government does not intend to take over private temples.
The clarification came after reports emerged indicating notices being served to private Hindu temples asking them to register with the administration within a month. The directive said:
“As per the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Act, 2011, the private temples have to register with the Assistant Commissioners concerned. Though there had been clear instructions in this regard, no temple had been registered so far. “The registration process will avoid the possible misuse of funds. The applicants have to furnish details of the place, bank account, buildings belonging to each temple to get the registration done”.
Regarding the directive issued by the HRCE department to private temples recently, Poojary held that since the Congress government in 2015 had passed orders making it compulsory for private temples to register with the department, reminders were being sent to temples every year. Poojary added, “But, I have given instructions to stop sending such reminders to temples as it is causing confusion”.
It must be mentioned here that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had appealed to the BJP-led Karnataka state government to withdraw the circulars that mandated registration of all temples that were outside the purview of the Muzrai department. VHP South Zone President MB Puranik and Mangaluru Division President Sharan Pumpwell issued a media statement on Thursday (November 4).
TOI quotes Shri Puranik as saying:
The government issued a circular on November 4 making registration of all temples, other than those under the Muzrai department, mandatory as per the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Act. Officials have started serving notices to the management of private temples seeking compulsory registration. The government should immediately stop the process and withdraw the circular.
The VHP stated that this was an effort on the government’s part to interfere in all private temple affairs as the directive asked temples to furnish details regarding their movable and immovable properties, annual audit report etc and warned of action if not complied with.
Shri Puranik also added Thousands of Hindu temples under private management in the state are engaged in educational, social, and other charitable activities. The circular is an effort to bring all temples under the government’s control.
The notification issued by the Karnataka withdrawing the 2015 Congress regime circular regarding temple take over is as follows:
“After the public complained of private temples being registered under Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Department, Kota Srinivas Poojari, Minister of Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Department withdrew the circular.
In his statement, Kota Srinivas Poojary said that on 03/08/2015, the then government issued an order under rule 53 in 2011 where private temples were to be registered under religious institutions and charitable organizations endowment department. The department sent a circular to the assistant commissioner every month.
Heeding to the emotions of the devotees, the department has decided to cancel the order as issued on 03/08/2015 which continued by default, a decision taken by the then government.”
This a welcome move by the Karnataka state government.
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