June 12, 2008

34 000 Hindu temples were told to perform worship every day for the hindutva laden govt of Karnataka

[Govt. shows its religious colours in Karnataka. First a circular is issued by the endowment commissioner to ensure worship in all govt. run temples is perfomed for the Chief Minister and the newly installed BJP goverment; 2 days later after some noise, the circular is withdrawn. One wonder's whether there is any precedent for that in India. By the way, what would be the budget of the endowments department? See related news reports below from the Times of India and DNA. ]

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The Times of India, 12 June 2008

God bless Karnataka! Temples to do pooja in CM's name

BANGALORE: Some Sarkar Raj this! Next time you visit a temple in Karnataka you may hear priests doing pooja in the name of the chief minister and the government. First-time minister Krishnaiah Chetty, who holds muzrai and housing portfolios, told reporters on Wednesday that this was being done for the welfare of the state.

Chetty had directed endowment commissioner T Sham Bhat to ensure that pooja was performed in all the department-run temples. The commissioner accordingly issued a circular on Monday directing the muzrai temples to perform archana every day in the name of the chief minister. The circular does not mention the CM by name.

This means that all the 34,000 temples that come under the muzrai department will have to toe the government line. Defending his move, Chetty said that as the state was facing a crisis, divine blessings were necessary to maintain peace. He hinted that divine intervention was also being sought to help the young BJP government tide over the fertilizer crisis.

Once the media briefing was over the minister offered ‘prasada’ (laddu) to the reporters like he did on the day of his swearing in.

Each government-run temple in the state gets a minimum tasdik (annual grant) of Rs 6,000. Prior to JD(S)-BJP coalition government, tasdik amount varied from Re 1 to Rs 50,000. Taking special interest in temple issues, Yeddyurappa, who was a finance minister in the coalition set up, earmarked Rs 21.48 crore as tasdik amount in the 2007-08 budgets as against Rs 6.12 crore in 2006-07.

In Bangalore urban district alone there are 1,016 muzrai temples. Of these, 68 are located in the vicinity of prime commercial areas including famous Sri Dharamarayaswamy, Dodda Ganesha, Banashankari and Kote Venkataramanaswamy temples. And the famous Kukke Subramanya temple in Dakshina Kannada district also comes under the government.

Depending on the size, muzrai temples are categorized as A, B and C. A priest gets a minimum monthly remuneration of Rs 500 and offerings given by devotees on a plate go to the priest.

Copyright © 2008 Times Internet Limited. All rights reserved.

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Daily News and Analysis

BJP govt withdraws controversial temple circular
Thursday, June 12, 2008 17:09 IST

BANGALORE: Barely two weeks after coming to power in Karnataka, the BJP government on Thursday hastily withdrew a two-day-old controversial circular directing temples in the State to perform "poojas" in the name of the Chief Minister and the government everyday.

The decision to withdraw the circular was taken at a cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.

"The June nine circular of the 'Muzrai' (religious and charitable endowments) department directing performing of pooja to Chief Minister and the Government was decided to be withdrawn," Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Shobha Karandlaje said.

The circular issued by the Muzrai Commissioner said: "it is directed by hon. Muzrai Minister (Krishnaiah Setty) that for overall development of the State and for welfare of the people, to maintain peace and tranquility, all the Muzrai temples in the State should perform 'archana' (pooja) in the name of the Chief Minister and also the government".

The circular came to light when Setty told the media on Monday that the Endowments Commissioner on his direction had issued the circular to perform archana in the name of Chief Minister everyday in about 34,000 temples which functioned under the control of the endowments department.