The matter of government taking control of Hindu temples has become a massive problem in the entire country as most of the politicians are misusing their post and positions looting temple money.
Most of the famous temples which receive crores of money through donations from devotees have been taken over by governments since many years. The government which is suppose to utilize the money for temple development is secretly diverting the money to unidentified sources. The priests who depend on temple for their livelihood are deprived of salary and regular income by government which has made their life miserable.
Now, a similar situation has emerged in the famous Puri Jagganath Temple where the Supreme Court has passed a shocking verdict saying that priests cannot take offerings given to them by devotees but rather will have to return the money to the Temple Hundi which is in turn controlled by state government.
Following the action, the priest of the Puri Jagganath temple have written letter to the Chief Justice of India asking for mercy killing claiming that they have lost livelihood after Supreme Court verdict.
Servitor Narasingha Pujapanda in his letter to CJI, said his only source of income was from the devotees’ gifts and donations inside the temple which he is no longer allowed to take. The verdict to abolish the hereditary rights of the servitors has left us in dismay.
“We beg from them and it has been continuing for more than a thousand years. The court and government are trying to stop our only source of income. How we will survive without income,” Pujapanda wrote in his petition on Wednesday. “Now that the apex court had asked the temple servitors to refrain from accepting donations from devotees, it’s almost impossible to survive. I had approached the Odisha government seeking euthanasia but it refused. It’s better to die at once than waiting for a hunger death,” he said.
The court had mooted 12 proposals for reforms in the temple in July saying the servitors will have no claim on offerings made by devotees and all collections must go the temple ‘Hundi’ following a petition by Cuttack-based lawyer Mrinalini Padhi early this year.
Few months back, Pujapanda had threatened to immolate himself protesting the entry of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials into the ‘Ratna Bhandar’ or the treasury of the temple as the priest suspected the ulterior motives of the government to take over the temple wealth.
The ASI had earlier sought permission of Orissa High Court to assess the condition of the Ratna Bhandar, where all the gold and other valuables of Lord Jagannath and his siblings are kept in safe custody.
The government which opened the treasury vaults of the Anantha Padmanabaswamy temple in Kerala is now unbable to control the loot which is happening in the temple. There has been many reports that hundreds of gold pots worth crores have gone missing from the treasury which is under the government control. According to priests and locals, it is said that the local administrators, ministers and politicians have involved in looting temple money since the time the vaults were opened.
This is reason why the priest of the Puri Jagannath temple does not want the ASI or the government to open the treasury vaults of the temple.