WHILE Congress leaders are hell-bent on damning the RSS – it is an old game that has long ceased to have any meaning – they seem to be unaware (or deliberately wish to ignore) that as late as on July 4, 2010 the right hand of a 53-year old Christian college professor (one TJ Joseph) was chopped off by Muslim fundamentalists, at Thodapurzha, Iduki district, in Kerala, for alleged blasphemy.
If, presently, money collected has ever been misused (and that word needs to be defined), it is for the devotees to protest and not for any government to interfere. This letter is what has been happening currently under an intrusive law. It would seem, for instance,that under a Temple Empowerment Act, about 43,000 temples in Andhra Pradesh have come under government control and only 18 per cent of the revenue of these temples have been returned for temple purposes, the remaining 82 per cent being used for purposes unstated.
Apparently even the world famous Tirumala Tirupati Temple has not been spared. According to Knapp, the temple collects over Rs 3,100 crores every year “and the State Government has not denied the charge that as much as 85 per cent of this is transferred to the State Exchequer, much of which goes to causes that are not connected with the Hindu community”. Was it for that reason that devotees make their offering to the temples? Another charge that has been made is that the Andhra Government has also allowed the demolition of at least ten temples for the construction of a golf course. “Imagine the outcry” writes Knapp, “if ten mosques had been demolished”. It would seem that in Karanataka, Rs. 79 crores were collected from about two lakh temples and from that, temples received Rs seven crores for their maintenance, Muslim Madrassahs and Haj subsidy were given Rs 59 crore and churches about Rs 13 crore. Very generous of the government. Because of this, Knapp writes, “25 per cent of the two lakh temples or about 50,000 temples in Karnataka will be closed down for lack of resources”, and he adds: “The only way the government can continue to do this is because people have not stood up enough to stop it”. Knapp then refers to Kerala where, he says, “funds from the Guruvayur Temple are diverted to other government projects denying improvement to 45 Hindu temples”. Land belonging to the Ayyappa Temple, apparently has been grabbed and “Church encroaches are occupying huge areas of forest land, running into thousands of acres, near Sabarimala”.