Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) head priest Ramana Dikshitulu has alleged that the state government and the temple administration are mishandling temple affairs. He alleged that there were many financial and other irregularities in the management of temple affairs and in a conversation with TOI, he stated that he had sent copies of a memorandum seeking a probe into the functioning of the TTD administration and the role of the state government to the President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India.
In a press conference on Tuesday, the chief priest had made allegations of impropriety, corruption and lack of commitment towards upholding the sanctity and ethos of the Temple against the Temple administrators. He also suspected that temple funds were being diverted and jewellery misappropriated. He demanded an audit into the functioning of the Temple administration.
“It’s unfortunate that we (hereditary priests), who for generations dedicated ourselves to temple service, are so helpless today. Until 1996, we were custodians of the Lord’s jewellery and maintained up-to-date records of the inventory. But, in the 22 years since Andhra government took over the reins, not once has the jewellery count been done. Of late, only the newer jewellery is given to adorn the Lord. What happened to the ancient ornaments? An open audit should be done. Digital records should be made for transparency,” he said.
Ramana Dikshitulu further alleged that the administrators have no respect for the traditions and practices laid down in the Agamas and slammed the authorities for the commercialization of the Temple. He warned, “The authorities have no respect for traditions or practices as laid down by agamas (Vedic scriptures defining traditions and rituals in the temple). This would result in devotees losing faith and lead to catastrophic incidents.”
He further alleged that the authorities were damaging the ancient structure of the temple by drilling holes into the walls and floors in the name of beautification. He also said that the Archaeological Survey of India should assess the extent of the damage to the structure. He further added, “They don’t care to ask our opinion. They don’t allow ASI to enter the temple.”
The controversy comes merely a month after a non-Hindu was appointed on the Board of Trustees for the temple. Th trustee then opted out after questions were raised over her faith. The latest allegations by Ramana Dikshitullu should not surprise anyone as the secular state of India has a history of engaging in the gross mismanagement of Hindu Temples which has resulted and is continuing to plunder our cultural wealth.
The following detailed talk by Advocate J Sai Deepak states the deep problem with secular state’s control of Hindu Temples.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BA_VQdUMdeY]
A civil liberties group, Indic Collective, has been campaigning for a while to free temples from the control of the secular state.