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T Muruganandham | ENS | Chennai | June 12, 2021:: The Minister for the HR&CE temples (managed by the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments department) PK Sekar Babu on Saturday hinted that women who wish to take up the job of a temple priest, would be given training for that.
The Minister said in response to a woman reporter after holding detailed discussions with senior officials of the HR and CE department from across the State.
Sekar Babu had earlier said that the ‘all-caste archaka’ scheme would soon be implemented in HR and CE temples in the state.
Asked whether the government would accept women coming forward to work as priests, the Minister said, “If women wish to work as priests, training will be provided to them and steps will be taken to appoint them as priests. This will be done after getting the approval of the Chief Minister.”
There has been a long-drawn debate on female priests in Hindu temples. Social reformers have been advocating it to establish gender equality in the job of priests too.
Minutes after the remarks of the Minister, there were criticisms against this move in social media. In the coming days, this topic is likely to become a point of debate.
On Tamil archana in temples, the Minister said “Already, Tamil archana is being performed in HR and CE temples. In 47 big temples in the state, a board will be displayed with the words “Tamil Archana will be performed in this temple.” Also, training will be given to the priests in performing archana in Tamil.
Responding to a question, the Minister reiterated that the ‘All-caste archaka’ scheme would come into force within 100 days of assumption of office of this government. You will see archakas from castes functioning in the temples.”
The Minister said recently the Madras High Court has given 75 recommendations to temples which included preventing idol theft, maintenance of ancient temples, etc. and they were discussed during the meeting. Already, the government started implementing a few of them while other recommendations would be enforced in due course.
Answering a question regarding the appointment of a new Jeeyar in Srirangam temple, the Minister said, “The procedure followed for appointment of a new Jeer so far will be followed in the present case too. The Chief Minister has advised that as far as religious matters are concerned, the sentiments of any section of the people should not get hurt.
“We have discussed various plans to be implemented for the temples and its administration. These plans would be implemented in three phases: Plans that need to be implemented immediately; and those required to be enforced during the second and third phases. Chief Minister MK Stalin will make appropriate announcements for these plans to be implemented,” Sekar Babu added.