Alok Kumar, International Working President of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), has demanded that temples across the country be freed of government control. Kumar said that such are the laws in certain states that there isn't even a single Hindu devotee in the temple committees. Only bureaucrats are running the show in governance of temple operations.
"Not just in South India but in West and North India, temples are under the government's control," the VHP top leader said in an exclusive interview with IANS. "The same is the case in Uttarakhand. The government's job cannot be to run temples. There should be a system that has transparency. The government should not control and regulate the temples and devotees must have a greater say in the affairs of the temples."
Kumar said the present government at the Centre is sensitive to this. "In the future, temples are expected to be freed of government control. State governments should themselves take the initiative for this. There is a separate system for gurudwaras and there is a different system in the Wakf board as well. There should be participation of devotees in the operation of temples too. There is not a single devotee in the committees tha run temples in many states."
Kumar expressed dissatisfaction over what he sees as excessive government involvement in the running of temples and use of temple funds in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, among other states.
Kumar further said, there will be no dearth of funds for the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. The Vishva Hindu Parishad will contact 11 lakh families and 55 crore people in four lakh villages across the country to collect funds for the temple.
On the question of donations for the temple, Kumar said, "Somebody had suggested to me that he would want to fund the entire cost of constructing the temple on his own. So I said then people will know it as your temple and not the Ram temple. Therefore, the temple must be built with the economic cooperation of all Indians."
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