Devotees’ protests force AP govt to reconsider decision to sell Tirupati properties

The collective power of Hindus was on display as the proposed sale of Tirupati properties donated by devotees has been put on hold by an order issued by the Andhra Pradesh (AP) Government. The state government issued a Government Order (GO) dated 25.05.2020 putting the sale in abeyance and issuing instructions to the TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam) to not proceed in the matter until such time they undertake discussions with various stakeholders.

The order cites resolution No. 253 dated 30.01.2016 in accordance with which the decision to dispose around 50 properties of TTD was approved by the TTD Board of Trustees. The Government has further instructed TTD to hold consultations with religious elders, opinion makers and representatives of devotees among others to determine if the said properties can be used for constructing temples, Dharma prachar and other religious activities. The Executive Officer of TTD has been asked to submit a compliance report after taking the necessary action.

It was earlier reported that TTD had been considering sale of valuable properties donated by devotees to tide over the financial crunch caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Extremely agitated and angered by this news devotees had vehemently opposed the move. They even registered their protests by running #SaveTTD hashtag on Twitter. The entire opposition had also united to back the devotees’ demand. These protests ultimately paid off and CM Jagan Mohan Reddy led YSRCP Government ultimately passed the order putting the decision on hold.

Temple assets seem to be on the radar of most politicians these days. Earlier Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan was eyeing temple gold. The Travancore Devaswom Board has also decided to sell its assets like brass lamps and utensils citing financial crunch. The pandemic has simply become a convenient excuse to target Hindu temples and their funds which are already under government control unlike churches or mosques. In addition, State Governments also take care of padres and maulvis in the name of secularism while most Hindu temple priests have been left to fend for themselves in these difficult times.

This issue again highlights the adhoc, reactive manner in which large temple trusts controlled by Govt, like TTD, are being handled. Even the practising Hindus on the temple boards seem to be oblivious to the machinations of the secular state and the anti-Hindu elements who create mischief. As a twitter user highlighted, TTD has been seeing different kind of mismanagement to worsen the experience of Hindu pilgrims – it is time to dismantle TTD and replace it with a Temple management Board that is of, by & for Hindus.

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