Kerala was hit by one of the worst floods in a century last month and widespread damages were witnessed all over the state. As news of the floods spread, relief and financial aid were poured from all over the country on the coastal state. Various state governments, the Central government and private organisations had come forward to help Kerala stand back on its feet. Even private citizens had come forward in large numbers to donate in the chief minister’s relief fund set up by the Kerala government.
However, the unfortunate event of the Kerala floods also saw many individuals with vested interests use it to propagate their own political or ideological goals. There were attempts to spread regional divide. There were also several attempts to spread fake news of the UAE government offering aid and the PM Modi refusing it. Recently, another individual has stirred up a controversy on the social media over the topic of Kerala floods. Ironically, it is a BJP MP.
BJP MP from Delhi North-West constituency, Udit Raj had tweeted yesterday that 3 Hindu temples in Kerala, The Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Sabarimala Temple and Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple have a combined wealth of more than 1 lakh crores. He further stated that the people of Kerala should protest on streets demanding the distribution of this wealth among the flood victims. He had added that what is the use of such wealth when the people of Kerala are ‘dying and crying’
The MP’s tweet, however, was not received well by people on the microblogging platform. Many Twitter users disagreed with him and demanded to know why has he not asked for the wealth form Churches and Mosques too, to be distributed amongst the flood victims.
Dear Udit Raj, what stops you from asking the same from churches who own 2nd biggest land chunk in India? Or Madarsas for that matter who get Petro dollars. Why attack Temples only? Because they are soft target? Now tell ur real agenda! https://t.co/YXsCXp8u2m
— Vikas Pandey (@MODIfiedVikas) September 12, 2018
True .Church has cornered vast expanse of land in Kerala, including in the prime localities of major cities, depriving public of scarce land. Whom did land belong to before?
Same or worse in Tamil Nadu.
Now you are targeting Hindu Temple wealth ?!
— Capt.Harish Pillay (@captpillay) September 12, 2018
Twitter users also called his idea arrogant and questioned him whether he has donated his salary and given up perks and benefits as an MP for the Kerala flood victims.
Even many BJP volunteers and supporters disagreed with Udit Raj’s statement and stated that temple wealth is private property and an MP has no say on how it should be used.
Don’t kindly take advantage of @BJP4India tag to state anything
Hindu faith contribution is not any govt’s Jaidad to distribute among all.
Sorry , I am a BJP volunteer and take it my right to correct you. Don’t disgrace my party https://t.co/YqJ656PYw6
— Shakuntala Iyer (@shakkuiyer) September 12, 2018
However, some people also questioned his statement by raising the larger issue of government ownership over Hindu temples and criticised the biased policies.
How is Udit Raj’s demand different from Fadnavis using Sidhi Vinayak temple funds for govt projects? What is the principle here? If you are okay with funds diversion from Sidhi Vinayak temple, why are you not okay with his demand? https://t.co/RP7MPOyLLg
— Tracking Evangelism (@trackevangelism) September 11, 2018
A recent report by NASA based on satellite imagery and research data showed that the delay in releasing dam water coupled with an unusually high monsoon rainfall was the reason behind Kerala floods. There were also reports that the erstwhile governments had ignored the Western Ghats Ecology Experts Panel report by Madhav Gadgil and let massive mining activities continue in the region which eventually led to large-scale soil erosion, deforestation and caused devastating floods in the state. Udit Raj was earlier in the news for ‘warning’ the BJP led NDA government for ‘Dalit atrocities’.