Govt plans to appoint ‘its men’ with eye on wealth, says BJP.
Bhopal: In an interesting development, the Kamal Nath government has set in motion a move to appoint ‘qualified’ priests in temples in Madhya Pradesh, raising many eyebrows here.
The state government has almost given final shape to its proposal to fix a criteria for people desirous of serving as priests in Hindu temples and head of math (religious institution) in MP.
A priest needs to be strictly a vegetarian, well versed in Hindu religious scriptures and should have a minimum educational qualification of class eight pass, according to the criteria set for the appointment of priests in the temples.
“The move will pave the way for government-controlled temples and religious institutions in the state to become litigation free, besides serving the purpose of protecting the Sanatan Dharma in the long run,” a senior officer of the state spiritual depa-rtment said.
According to him, many temples in the state have been found to be fighting legal battles over its properties. The move will help the government phase out the unwanted elements serving as priests of the temples and appoint qualified priests in the interest of the particular places of worship.
The state government is going to bring the plan into force shortly, he said.
The Opposition BJP, however, saw a political motive in the move.
“The state government eyes wealth of the temples by appointing ‘its men’ in the management of the temples. Besides, the move will facilitate rehabilitation of Congress workers. It will politicise the temples. It amounts to encroa-ching in religious affairs of Hindus,” BJP spokes-man Rajneesh Agrawal said.
Incidentally, the state government has recently tripled the honorarium for the priests of government controlled temples to `3,000.
There are around 25,000 priests in government- managed temples in MP.
“The move is aimed at ‘de-saffronising’ temples in MP to ensure the influence of the BJP over the religious leaders as well as institutions in the state is waned,” another BJP leader said.