CM Pushkar Singh: Won’t allow Devasthanam board to harm interest of priests, hak-hakookdharis, Panda Samaj at any cost
BJP is again hurting its Hindu vote bank by ditching the promise of quashing the controversial Devasthanam Boards which took over 51 temples in Uttarakhand including iconic Kedarnath and Badrinath temples. In April 2021, the second Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat declared at Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) function that he has decided to cancel the decision of first Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat. Now on Tuesday third Chief Minister Pushkar Singh says the Devasthanam Board will not be allowed to harm the interest of priests and ‘hak-hakookdharis‘ at any cost.
‘Hak-hakookdharis‘ have traditional rights on resources in and around the temples. They provide the temples with ‘puja samagri‘ collected from surrounding forests and are given a share of the offerings in return. The Devasthanam Board, which came into existence during the tenure of Trivendra Singh Rawat, controls the management of 51 temples, including Chardham. As per the Act passed with the active support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in mid-2019, the Chief Minister will be the Chairman of the Devasthanam Board. The dubious Act also says that if the Chief Minister is not a Hindu, a second senior-most Hindu Minister will be the Chairman. What is this second senior-most Hindu Minister in a Cabinet? The Act empowers local government officials to administer the temples, which was totally against the BJP agenda and ideology which always argued for temples from government controls.
The new (third one in this term) Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami started facing protests from priests, VHP, and some BJP MLAs also started coming to protests.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy challenged the Act in the High Court. But his petitions were disposed with a direction to keep the properties of the Temples with themselves. Swamy’s appeal is now pending before the Supreme Court from September 2020.
It is well-known fact that Prime Minister Modi gave all support to pass this dubious Act of taking over 51 temples in Uttarakhand. He attended three meetings with Chief Minister Trivednra Rawat on the development of the Chardham areas. Meanwhile, many BJP MLAs turned against the Chief Minister, who was facing serious corruption allegations also. The VHP and Pujaris decided to go for public protest by sitting in front of the temples. VHP declared protest from April 2021. Fearing public anger the next Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat declared quashing of Devasthanam Boards at a VHP function.
Here comes the treachery of BJP. They did not quash the Board, and priests again started their protests. The new (third one in this term) Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami started facing protests from priests, VHP, and some BJP MLAs also started coming to protests. On Tuesday, the protesting priests reached Chief Minister’s office. Now Dhami gave the assurance to a delegation of priests, ‘hak-hakookdharis‘ and members of Panda Samaj led by Devprayag MLA Vinod Kandari and former MLA from Kedarnath Shaila Rani Rawat. Senior BJP leader Manohar Kant Dhyani has been asked to submit his recommendations to the state government only after listening to pilgrimage priests (teerth-purohits) and knowing their apprehensions.
Dhami said, “The State Government will listen to all stakeholders and address their concerns. The Devasthanam Board will not be allowed to hurt the interest of teerth purohits, hak hakookdharis and Panda Samaj,” Dhami said. “There should be no communication gap. A solution will be found through talks. All doubts will be addressed, and amendments made wherever required,” he told the delegation. Before the implementation of Badrinath’s master plan begins, everyone concerned will be heard, he assured.
Here the question is why BJP’s Centre and State Governments are hell-bent on fooling people by first taking over the 51 temples and then promising to quash the Board and now saying priests’ rights will be protected by the controversial Devasthanam Board.
 BJP Government withdraws from the controversial takeover of 51 temples in Uttarakhand – Apr 09, 2021, PGurus.com
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