On August 14, the commissioner of the Muzrai department issued a circular which directed all the district administrators to withhold the funding being provided to state-run temples.
The funds were meant for repair and development work in the temples. This applied to temples where 50 per cent funds were provided or the funding was sanctioned, but the work had not progressed.
The Karnataka Congress has been facing flak from Hindu groups, temple authorities and the opposition for taking 'anti-Hindu' stances. Since the formation of the new government in Karnataka in May, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has faced severe criticism on many issues — handling of the camera in Udupi nursing college bathroom incident, the supposed plan to decriminalise cattle slaughter to name a few.
Minister for Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Department (Muzrai) Ramalinga Reddy later provided a clarification that the circular issued was because of a 'confusion', and that the government did not intend to stop any funding to the temples.
The commissioner of the department and the principal secretary have been asked to withdraw the order, according to a report published by Deccan Herald.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was quick to criticise the move, and several legislators termed the action as 'anti-Hindu'.
The state has nearly 34,000 endowment temples, of which, 175 are Class A temples that receive an annual revenue of over Rs 25 lakh. Class B temples, with a revenue between five lakh rupees and Rs 25 lakh are 158 in number. The rest of the temples having an annual revenue of under five lakh rupees are notified as Class C, a reported by The New Indian Express.
“I had asked officials to furnish details of ongoing works and work orders for which funds are not released. I had sought this as we have to seek the Finance Department’s nod for funds. Our intention is not to stop work or funds to temples. If needed, we are ready to give more funds", the report has quoted Reddy as saying.
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