Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president K Annamalai said that one of the first things that the party would do if it comes to power in Tamil Nadu would be to abolish the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HRCE) department. The HRCE department controls around 46,000 temples in the state.
He said this after a symbolic hunger strike was conducted by the Spiritual wing of the BJP against the 'anti-Hindu' nature of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government and the HRCE department, at Valluvar Kottam in Chennai.
The protest comes after Krishnan, a temporary employee of the HRCE department, was killed by goons when he asked them not to consume alcohol within the temple premises. The incident occurred in Tirunelveli district and sparked massive outrage.
Annamalai had then come down heavily on HRCE minister P Sekar Babu and asked him to focus on the security of temple property and its staff. He added that the condition of temples in the state was poor because the department was more interested in the temple money and the minister wanted to please the DMK first family.
Some examples of misuse and mismanagement of temple funds given by Annamalai were the use of Rs 30 lakh from the funds of the Madurai Meenakshi temple to buy a car and the disappearance of 5309 cows from the possession of the Tiruchendur Muruga (Karthikeya) temple. He also highlighted a case in which the audit fees for a temple with an income of Rs 20 crore had come out to Rs 70 crore.
Sekar Babu had recently drawn flak for participating and saying 'Hallelujah' three times at a Christmas event. In the same event, Udhayanidhi Stalin had praised Sekar Babu and said that the HRCE minister saying 'Hallelujah' is the Dravidian model.
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