interview | K.T. Raghavan Tamil Nadu

‘HR&CE Department must maintain temple lands or call it quits’


We will oppose the State government’s plan to regularise encroached land: T.N. BJP leader

The BJP will continue to oppose the State government’s proposal to regularise encroached temple lands and issue pattas to the squatters on these lands, K.T. Raghavan, secretary, Tamil Nadu BJP, has said. Excerpts from an interview:

The State government had recently reiterated its position before the Madras High Court on issuing pattas to the encroachers of temple lands. What is the BJP’s stand on this?

We strongly object to the stand of the government. It has a mala fide intention. Many kings and philanthropists gave away these lands for temples. No individual or government can distribute these lands. How is it right for them to give away the lands to encroachers?

The HR&CE Act says the interests of the temples should be protected. Instead, this government is trying to give away these lands to encroachers. This is highly condemnable. When the case came up for hearing in August, the judges made the same observation, asking why the government was supporting the encroachers. The land value will be thousands of crores of rupees. This cannot be allowed. They can claim that they will look at each temple, classify the land and give it away, but all those will be diluted.

In fact, many temples are not getting enough revenue. Some temples don’t even have funds for conducting puja once a day. Addressing this issue is the job of the HR&CE Department and the government, not speaking in favour of the encroachers.

Do you believe that the government may be trying to give away the lands to influential politicians?

I don’t think there’s a powerful lobby. But find out who the encroachers are. They could even be common people. Evict them. These lands were given with a good intention. You (HR&CE) should be a trustee. As a trustee, how can you allow the land to be swallowed?

Will you take this up with the CM?

Definitely. We want to convey this in very vocal terms – This is wrong, you should rectify this. The ruling party may be our ally, but this is wrong. We believe they will change their view. Otherwise, we will decide the next course of action.

What’s that likely to be?

We hope they will listen to our advice. We don’t know whether we will go to the courts, but if you are giving away temple lands like this, we won’t be a mute spectator.

The HR&CE Department should protect temple lands or exit temple management altogether.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 10:02:03 AM |

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