Many Hindu temples in India have been under government control, which allows the government to exploit the funds of the temples for purposes other than the development and maintenance of the temples. Hindus have been opposed to this for a long time.
Background of the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board
Uttarakhand Government Chief Minster Trivendra Singh Rawat brought into force the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act in the Assembly, allowing the government to appoint MPs, MLAs and industrialists to be members of the management board, thus allowing funneling of temple funds for unwarranted purposes.
In opposition to this move, Subramanian Swamy filed a PIL challenging the constitutional validity claiming that it violates Articles 31 A(1) (b), Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution.
The Uttarakhand High Court dismissed the PIL as ““scoring political and personal interests”. The HC cited the
In early April 2021, new Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat’s government, formed in March 2021, declared that it will free 51 temples from government control, revoking the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act. This led to jubilant support from Hindu pujaris and VHP. This allowed the Kumbh Mela, held in Haridwar, to proceed without any disturbance, and with full cooperation of Hindu organizations and sadhus.
Subramaniam Swamy welcomed this move.
The Uttarakhand government has not freed the said 51 temples as yet, and is showing no signs of fulfilling their word as yet. In protest to this, several pujaris of the Char Dham have been performing Puja and Archana wearing black bands. They have also been in silent protests outside the temples, to voice their concerns to the government. They say that their protests will continue and increase in intensity until the government listens to them.
Hindu temples are not able to expand or grow because their funds are funneled to sponsor government schemes, infrastructure or other schemes which have nothing to do with Hindu culture. This systemic discrimination, and exploitation of Hindu temples must stop. Char Dham are one of the most sacred Spiritual Tourism Circuits in India. They receive massive amounts in donations every year. Temples have become an easy source of revenue for the Uttarakhand government, which is host to Hindu festivals like Kumbh Mela and high influx of tourists to all temples in the Himalayas. Freeing of Hindu temples in the state is a must and is urgent.
Last modified: June 13, 2021