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Karnataka: Authorities issue diktat to private temples to register with govt within a month, warns of action for failure to do so

After bringing these temples under their ambit, the government will also evaluate gold, silver and other valuables belonging to the temple in the presence of recognised evaluators and officers.

In a shocking order, private temples in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka have been given a month’s time to register with the administration failing which the government authorities would take control of such temples.

According to the reports, Chikkamagaluru Assistant Commissioner HL Nagaraj has issued a diktat to all temples run by a private trust and temples other than those under the Muzrai Department asking them to register with the administration within a month. He also warned of severe action against Hindu temples if they fail to do so, he said in a press conference in Chikkamagaluru on Tuesday.

According to the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Act, 2011, the private temples have to register with the Assistant Commissioners concerned. However, no temples have registered yet.

“The registration process will avoid the possible misuse of funds. The applicants have to furnish details of the place, bank account, buildings belonging to each temple to get the registration done,” he said.

Govt will evaluate its resources, to be used for special events

After bringing these temples under its ambit, the government will also evaluate gold, silver and other valuables belonging to the temple in the presence of recognised evaluators and officers. The evaluated gold ornaments can be utilised during special events and celebrations, he added.

The diktats issued by the authorities in Karnataka to control the remaining free temples in the state indicate that the government intends to deviate its resources to fulfil its own agenda. This harsh decision comes at a time when Hindus across the country are demanding to free the temples from the clutches of the governments, just like religious institutions of other religion.

However, instead of liberating the existing temples, the BJP government in the state considers them as ‘cash cows’ and instead wants to bring it under the directive, however, instead of liberating existing temples aims at bringing more temples under the purview of the HRCE department.

Govt to reconsider order, orders to stop the process of registration

Following the backlash by the citizens of the state, Minister of State for Hindu Religious Organisations and Endowments Kota Srinivas Poojary has directed the authorities to stop registration of private temples.

Girish Bharadwaj, a Hindu activist and the leader of VHP, had written a letter to the Commissioner of Hindu Endowments Department highlighting how the circular to register Private and non-notified temples was a violation of the Fundamental Rights of Hindus. He had also cited the 2015 Karnataka High Court judgement that struck down the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Act, 2011, on the basis of which the order was passed recently.

The activist had sought the government to withdraw the said circular in the interest of Justice and Equity.

Following the backlash, the Karnataka government has now decided to halt the process of registration of private temples.

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