Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin today dismissed allegations that his government has “encroached” on temples in the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a speech in Telangana, claimed that the DMK government had taken control of Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu, hinting at financial irregularities. The Prime Minister also alleged that the Tamil Nadu government was looting the temple’s wealth.
Refuting the allegations, Stalin said that a group of people were trying to gain political advantage by misusing spiritualism.
“I categorically deny this accusation and convey my strong condemnation to the Prime Minister,” Stalin said during an event marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of San Vallalar.
He demanded to know how Narendra Modi, who occupies a high and responsible position in the nation, could make such an erroneous and defamatory allegation.
The DMK chief also criticized a Tamil newspaper for publishing the “lie uttered by the Prime Minister”.
Stalin also mentioned the work his government had done regarding temples. He said his government had claimed temple land worth Rs 3.7 billion in the two years since he came to power.
“Please tell me, is this wrong? We have held consecration ceremonies for 1,000 temples; is this wrong? Work is going on, at a cost of Rs 100 crore, to restore 112 historic temples that are 1,000 years old. Is this wrong?” Stalin asked the crowd.
Besides, renovation work of 5,078 temples, including 1,250 shrines in areas where SC and ST live and 1,250 village temples, will be started this year, Stalin said.
Stalin criticized the Prime Minister for “constructing a false narrative” and questioned why he was talking about another state while addressing the people of Telangana.
Stalin, although he refrained from naming anyone, also criticized people who seek to “exploit spiritualism for political gain.” He said these tactics would not work in the state because people can distinguish between politics and spirituality.
The BJP has often stated that the government should not have any control over temples.
Temples in Tamil Nadu came under the purview of the state government through a series of changes in 1960. Today, the Tamil Nadu government oversees the administration of 46,086 Hindu and Jain temples. Among them, 589 temples have an annual income of more than Rs 10 lakh.