On Monday, the Government of Andhra Pradesh had reportedly stayed the decision to auction the properties owned by Tirupati Tirumala temple, following vehement opposition from the Hindu community. The State Government had asked Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD) to reconsider their decision in light of the sentiments of the devotees. Chief Secretary Praveen Prakash has issued the order on behalf of the Andhra Pradesh government.
Jagan Mohan Reddy-led-Andhra government had said that until a final consensus is reached on the matter, the decision to auction the property will be halted. Moreover, the Executive Director of TTD has been directed to take action and make the government aware of the development through a report.
The Government has also asked senior saints to communicate with the devotees of the temple on how TTD can use temple properties for the propagation of religion, the building of temples, and other religious activities.
The current political dispensation of the YSR Congress had tried to pass on the blame to the previous government. The Government argued that the board of the trustees, which decided to auction 50 properties of the temple, was constituted by the erstwhile government of Chandrababu Naidu.
The ‘Rationale’ behind the Auction
Reportedly, the properties that TTD wanted to auction were in fact donated by the devotees to the temple. The Tirupati Tirumala Temple Trust, however, decided to sell them, claiming that they were ‘non-usable’. The said properties are located in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Rishikesh. The Trust had argued that since the properties were located away from the temple, it was ‘difficult’ to manage them. Several properties had also been encroached upon by miscreants.
Several such lands are being used for agriculture and there are many houses, which are far from the temple. The temple management said that it was incompetent to take care of these properties. Both the BJP and TDP opposed the YRS Congress government against the recent decision.
Rajya Sabha MP and RSS worker, Professor Rakesh Sinha, objected to the decision by writing a letter to the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam Board. He informed that in 2016, Chandrababu Naidu’s government took this decision. He wrote in a letter to the chairman of the trust that the Board should seek the help of devotees to manage the properties that are away from the temple. Sinha emphasised that the sentiments of devotees are attached to these temple properties.
Thanks to #TTD Chairman @yvsubbareddymp Garu for accepteing d demand to defer d process to sell Balaji Tirupati’s some properties & bring d matter in TTD Board to reexamine & review. It is an honour of religious sentiments of lmillions of devotees as well as democratic tradition. https://t.co/6dut1CHyqm— Prof Rakesh Sinha (@RakeshSinha01) May 25, 2020
Telugu actor turned politician Pawan Kalyan had earlier urged devotees and his party leaders to attend the hunger strike against the decision of the Andhra Pradesh Government to sell Tirupati temple property.
I request all Lord Balaji Devotees , Janasainiks, Veermahilas and JSP Leaders to participate in this hunger protest against the sale of TTD lands by AP Govt. pic.twitter.com/zuLsUDLw4p— Pawan Kalyan (@PawanKalyan) May 25, 2020
BJP MP from South Bengaluru, Tejasvi Surya, had urged Hindus to vehemently oppose the contentious move by the Andhra Pradesh government. Condemning the decision as ‘highly deplorable’, he asked the State BJP and actor Pawan Kalyan to fight against this issue until the Government reversed its stand.
AP Govt’s decision to sell assets of Tirupati Devasthanam is highly deplorable. We must oppose this tooth & nail.— Tejasvi Surya (@Tejasvi_Surya) May 25, 2020
I request Sri @PawanKalyan Garu & BJP in AP to fight this issue until the govt reverses it’s stand.
In the longterm, we must get temples out of state control.
It should be mentioned that this is not the first time that Tirupati is selling the properties of the Tirumala temple. Between 1974 and 2016, 129 such properties which were sold for auction.