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Kerala: BJP fumes as Devaswom Board transfers Rs 5 crores from the Guruvayur Temple’s fixed deposits to CM’s relief fund

Kerala BJP President K Surendran has asked why the state government is not taking money from other religious institutions, adding that the temple's funds should have been used to help other Hindu temples who are struggling even to light lamps during the lockdown.

Kerala BJP President K Surendran has criticised the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government for making Guruvayur Devaswom Board transfer Rs Five crore from its fixed deposit to Chief Minister’s relief fund.

Reportedly, K Surendran attacked the Kerala government for transferring the money from Hindu temples to the relief fund and said that Devaswom’s step was wrong. This money should have been sent to temples that have been struggling to light the lamps.

He also asked the Kerala government why the chief minister’s fund was not accepting money from other religious institutions.

Guruvayur Devaswom donates money despite no source of income

On Tuesday, the Guruvayur Devaswom had contributed Rs 5 crore to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund sparking a fresh controversy. Handing over the fund to District Collector S Shanavas, Guruvayur Devaswom chairman KB Mohandas said that the contribution to the fund was a part of the Devaswom’s social responsibility. 

“Guruvayur Devaswom had also donated a fund to CMDRF after the flood and it was given after obtaining the permission of the Devaswom Commissioner,” he said. The devaswom used the interest amount received from the fixed deposits from the banks.

Addressing concerns over payment of staff slalries during the lockdown when the temple’s income has suffered massively due to the lockdown, Mohandas claimed that the Devaswom will manage salaries through the interest amount from its fixed deposits.

Meanwhile, BJP leader B Gopalakrishnan had raised objections by stating that the contribution to CMDRF from devaswom income was not legal. 

“As per section 27 of the Guruvayur Devaswom Act, the main deity, Sree Krishna, is a minor and the owner of all property and income. It is well written by law that this income and properties should only be used for temple purposes. Moreover, there already exists a case in the High Court challenging Guruvayur Devaswom’s contribution to CMDRF after the 2018 flood,” he said.

Kerala follows Tamil Nadu in seeking money from Hindu temples

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department of Tamil Nadu had issued a controversial order dated April 22 asking Hindu temples to transfer Rs 10 crores to the State to the Chief Minister’s Coronavirus Relief Fund.

The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government in Tamil Nadu had directed 47 temples to give Rs 10 crore of funds to CM relief fund.

HR&CE Principal Secretary K Panindra Reddy had directed all officials working under him in 47 temples including Madurai, Palani, Thiruchendur, Tiruttani, Thiruvannamalai, Rameswaram, Mylapore, and others to contribute Rs 35 lakhs each from the funds towards feeding the poor due to lockdown. Other temples have been directed to give an amount ranging from Rs 15 lakhs to 25 lakhs. All 47 temples were ordered to transfer the fund of 10 crores to CM Corona Relief fund.

This move had come under severe criticism as questions were raised on Edappadi K Palaniswami government’s prejudice against Hindus’. 

Finally, the Tamil Nadu took back its order after the Madras High Court found it ‘not legally tenable. 

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