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Venu Lanka | TNN | Vijayawada | Dec 6, 2019:: Officials of Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devasthanams in the city have decided to take individual declarations from the temple’s employees in which they need to mention their religious faith and/or if they believe in Hinduism and worship Goddess Kanaka Durga. A notice to that effect has already been issued to the employees.
The biggest Hindu temple in the state, after Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirumala, is visited by over 80 lakh devotees annually and earns over Rs 3 crore in monthly revenue through donation boxes. The temple authorities are acting on the directions of the endowments commissioner, which has asked for declarations from employees working in temples across the state. The main aim behind the move is to identify the number of employees of other faith working in the temples.
In recent months, several religious organizations have alleged that non-Hindus were playing a key role in temples across the state, which includes the Kanaka Durga temple. Then chief secretary LV Subramanyam had asked the endowments commissioner to take the declarations. After Subramanyam was shifted from the chief secretary’s post, many Hindu organisations had alleged conspiracy behind his transfer.
“The endowments departments is one of the key revenue-generating departments for the state. It is supposed to look after and protect the sentiments of crores of devotees. But still, many non-Hindus are working in temples. A superintendent-cadre official at Durga temple had earlier denied to give a declaration and his services were terminated. We suspect that around five per cent of employees at Kanaka Durga temple are non-Hindus. The government should take necessary action to shift them,” said Dronamraju Ravi Kumar, convenor of Devalaya Parirakshana Samithi.
He further alleged that many temple officials are likely to submit false declarations and the endowments commissioner should properly verify all the documents.
Suresh Babu, executive officer of Kanaka Durga temple, said they were taking declarations from employees as per the endowments commissioner’s directives. “I believe every employee working in the temple is Hindu and they worship Goddess Kanaka Durga. The higher officials have asked us to take a declaration from the employees and it is a routine process. We will take action against employees who refuse or give false declarations,” said Suresh Babu, who added that the declaration is applicable for both contract and outsourced employees “as we have clearly mentioned that the job is meant only for Hindus”.