Memorandum of Concerns Submitted to Minister and Commissioner for Endowments Department
Dr. Ghazal Srinivas and Professor Prakasarao Velagapudi had the opportunity meet with Honorable Minister Sri Manikyala Rao and the Endowments Commissioner Smt. Anuradha, IAS, and submit our concerns about the with regard to the Temple lands, Temple assets, income, jewelry, dharmic activities, Vakulamata Temple, allocation of Housing plots, Islamic University, Nadula Arthi program, priest salaries and health insurance, and host of other issues. Following is the letter submitted to the Minister and Commissioner.
Honorable Sri Manikyala Rao
Minister, Department of Endowments
Dear Sri Manikyla Rao Garu:
On behalf of Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF), I want to submit our concerns and suggestions to improve the image of TTD and also to preserve and protect Hindu Dharma. Supreme Court has already asked Tamil Nadu Government to handover the Chidambaram Temple back to the Hindus. As you may know Sri Dayananda Saraswati has filed a case in the Supreme Court requesting the repeal of Endowments Act. Dr. Subramanian Swamy has taken up the case. With this background, we suggest the following so that the transition Government Control to the management of Hindus only becomes easy.
Also we request you to look at the “Amendment to Endowments Act” prepared by the then Chief Minister Dr. Y S Raja Sekhar Reddy in 2007. GHHF and Dr. Subramanian Swamy supported all the provisions except the appointment of the Apex Committee, which will oversee the management of all the Temples. If the Apex Committee members can be appointed by Hindu Spiritual Leaders, it would be a good start for transition.
Till such time, we request your kind attention to address the following issues affecting the TTD and other Temples in the State of Andhra Pradesh:
- Appoint an Apex Committee at the State level, which may be called Haindava Devalaya Samithi. It should be an independent autonomous body, whose members may be selected by the Spiritual leaders. The Samithi will report directly to the Chief Minister. This Committee will oversee the operation of all the Temples.
- Temples’ lands should not be sold and should be used for Goshalas, old age homes, orphanages, Veda Patasalas, flower gardens and such facilities that directly support the Hindu culture.
- No new construction should take place on Tirumala to preserve the pristine nature of the seven hills.
- Every Temple must promote and revive the age old traditional arts at the local level such as folk arts, harikathas, burrakathas, puppet shows, singers, dancers etc. to preserve the Hindu culture.
- During festival times, no commercial and vulgar programs should be allowed on the Temple sites. Programs such as episodes from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas should be conducted to uplift the spirits of Hindus and to bring pride in the culture.
- All major Temples should conduct Sunday schools for children to teach about the ethics, morals, stories, Puranas, Itihasas and other scriptures to impart Sanatana dharmic values.
- Lands belonging to all the Temples should be computerized and make accessible to all concerned Hindus and also the lands that were sold and encroached.
- GHHF will provide the technical support in computerization of the inventory of these lands and other related efforts.
- Almost all the Temples should be supplied with enough rice to provide Annadanam and Prasadam to the pilgrims.
- Serious efforts should be made to prepare the Sthala Purana of each Temples and make it available to the devotees to appreciate the history of these Temples.
- Major undertaking should be taken to train SEVADALAS (the volunteers) to help the operation the Temples and be assigned to various posts in the Temples. It will help Hindus take pride in their responsibility to their faith and also reduce the financial burden of the Temples.
- The Sevadala program will also reduce the number of employees so that some of the savings can be used for renovation of the other Temples.
- Government should appoint a group of Engineers to look at the stability and strength of the existing Temples, Gopurams, Dhwajasthambams and other buildings and submit reports with their recommendations to stabilize and renovate the structures.
- Government should also identify all major Hindu Temples that attract thousand of devotees and declare them as High Security Zone Temples by providing adequate security to prevent terrorism, thefts, encroachments, etc.
- All the buildings, roads, Temple structures need to be repaired and painted on regular basis, may be every two years. Budget should be included on a yearly basis.
- Accommodations and bathroom facilities need to be improved to provide sanitary facilities to the devotees.
- All the Priests should be enrolled in Arogyasree scheme.
- Pursuant to Supreme Court decision around 1993, salary scales must be developed and issued by the government instead of local Temple authorities.
- There are many Temples in the State without Priests. Special Priestly Training should be provided to the interested individuals, irrespective of the caste, for a period of one year or so with guaranteed salaries so that there would not be any Temple without a Priest.
- As you may know we have been corresponding with TTD about the illegal mining of the Mountain where Vakulamata Temple remains in ruins. We request you to take appropriate action against the people who have initiated and encouraged illegal mining and also defied the court. Failure on the part of TTD to take appropriate action will lead to further more such illegal mining.
- In August 2012, following the demonstration by Swami Paripoornananda and Ghazal Srinivas, Sri Bapiraju announced that TTD would take the responsibility of constructing Vakulamata Temple. So far, no concrete actions or meaningful efforts are undertaken.
- Swami Paripoornananda and Ghazal Srinivas give official letter from GHHF requesting your permission to you in person. GHHF will take the full responsibility of building Vakulamata Temple. It is attached for your information.
- The land where Islamic University is being built belongs to TTD. Why no action has been taken? Why no one monitors the land to see if that land is un-encroached? What plans do you have to recover the land and demolish the Islamic University?
- Some of the land on the Timmappa Temple site is being developed as a housing colony. It has been parceled into different plots. Who is developing this housing colony? Is TTD aware of it? What action is being taken by TTD to make sure that the endowed land is not misused?
- We feel that at least 100 kilometers radius of land around TTD should be declared as SACRED land where no other religious outfits should be allowed like in Vatican and Mecca.
- TTD should look into the formation of Unions in a religious place. Why the unions are allowed on religious organizations? Money is received through donations from the devotees.
- TTD should refrain from contributing to nonreligious activities.
- TTD should develop plans to reconvert the Christians who changed the religion to other religions. Set aside a special budget and assign Hindu activists to the villages. We should not turn blind eye to this illegal, deceptive, and misleading practices by Christians to lure innocent Hindus.
- TTD should consult Acharya Sabha (Swamiji) in all matters related to the Temple activities, Pujas, employment, renovations of other temples, propagation of Hinduism, and other areas.
- When Padmavati College was established the government has taken around 130 acres of TTD land with a condition that equivalent land would be allocated to TTD. So far no action has been taken. We request TTD to take necessary steps to get the allotment of the land.
- We request you to release annual budget every year so that Hindus will have faith in the management of TTD.
- Some of the employees of TTD belonged to other religions till recently. They have been propagating other religions on Tirumala. Are you taking precautions to make sure that all the employees are Hindus? Are you requiring the employees to submit their Faith letter to TTD? What mechanism do you have in place to verify that the new employees are Hindus?
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