The Reserve Bank of India’s initiative to elicit information on the quantity of gold stored by various temples has become a non-starter. Several temple trusts and Devaswom Boards, which received the letter from RBI a few weeks ago, have cold shouldered it. While some of the temple trusts are understood to have decided not to respond to the letter, others are yet to take a decision.
Travancore Devaswom Board received the RBI letter, but no reply had been given, sources close to the Board said. Guruvayur Devaswom and Attukal Bhagavathy Temple Trust are among other entities that have received the letter. An office-bearer of the Attukal temple trust said no reply had been sent to RBI. Various organizations are set to discuss the issue at a ‘temple parliament’ to be convened at Guruvayur on October 16.
BJP leader P.S. Sreedharan Pillai said the RBI letter would have no locus standi. The Hindu temples do not come under the purview of RBI regulations. “RBI has exceeded its limits; temples come under the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act; the assets of temples are linked to the religious belief systems. Golden idols are objects of worship. Being a State subject, regulations on religious institutions could be framed only by the State legislature. The RBI move is tantamount to violation of fundamental right,” Mr. Pillai said.
Ever since the apex bank shot off the letter, the office of the bank in the State capital has been witnessing protests from Hindu activists. Though the apex bank is said to have clarified that there is no intention to acquire the assets, the Hindu organisations are in no mood to relent.