Recently, Himachal government had regularised the appointment of two Muslims along with several others working on a contractual basis in the Jawalamukhi Temple, one of the major Shaktipeeths at Kangra, Himachal Pradesh which raised a huge furore among the prominent Hindu activists, Hindu organisations like the Himgiri Hindu Mahasabha etc and the Hindu community at large.

BJP Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy, VHP leader Girish Bharadwaj and several other prominent Hindu activists questioned the government control over temples which is the cause of such mindless insensitive appointments of non-Hindus in temple administration.

The Jawalamukhi Temple, a major pilgrimage place in Kangra district is under government control. The temple administration is run under a trust headed by the Deputy Commissioner of Kangra.

In 2017, under the Congress government, two Muslims were appointed in temple trust along with others on contract. Non-government trust members and other Hindu organisations had been protesting against the appointment of non-Hindus in the temple trust since 2017. They had sent several formal petitions to the Deputy Commissioner, Chief Minister and Governor’s office, yet such appointments of non-Hindus in temple administration kept happening.

Recently, the Himachal government regularised the services of people appointed on contractual basis owing to popular demand and government policy. The two Muslim members, Jashan Deen and Shakeen Mohamad’s appointments were also regularised with the others. They were appointed as langar sevadars in the Jwalamukhi temple.

Following which, the Himgiri Hindu Mahasabha submitted a memorandum to SDM Ankush Sharma to cancel these appointments. The state secretary of the Himgiri Hindu Mahasabha stated the irony that the two non-Hindus were appointed in place of people who have been working in the Jwalamukhi temple since 32 years.

The letter also stated that if the appointments of non-Hindus were not cancelled, there would be a state wide protest on the matter.

Notably, Section 4 of The Himachal Pradesh Hindu Public Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1994 read with Article 16(5) of the Constitution of India, appointment of non-Hindus in temple administration is void ab-initio.

Facing the heat of stiff resistance and protest against both legally and morally wrong appointment of two Muslims in temple administration, the Kangra DC Rakesh Prajapati tried to clear the air by posting a tweet stating that the appointments of two Muslims was made by the previous Congress government in 2017 and people have since been opposing their appointment and presence around the temple even though they were posted in the temple Rest House. So, the DC stated that he has transferred them 50 kms away to District Headquarters.

It is pertinent to note that the two Muslim employees should have been dismissed from service instead of being transferred 50 kms away to the District Headquarters isludicrous and another form of soft appeasement.

It is high time the government frees its singular control over Hindu religious establishments. It is surprising that even the BJP government which respects Hindu traditions and beliefs, continues to follow the same policy of taking over administrative control of temples as the Congress party, which evidently had scant respect for Hinduism as it called Lord Ram a myth in an affidavit to the Supreme Court.

When the government is freeing its control over banks, railways, airlines and even defence sector, why does it want to take over the management of Hindu temples singularly while keeping an arm’s distance from Churches and Mosques?

Lastly, when according to the tents of Islam, idol worship is ‘haram’ or prohibited and people who do not believe in Islam are Kafirs, then why should they want to be employed in Hindu temples other than the fact that such employment by the government authorities is in very shaky legal grounds and highly immoral.

News Input: Opindia, Jagran, The Tribune

Image Source: Internet.

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