Thiruvananthapuram : As Kerala created waves with the appointment of non-Brahmins as priests in state shrines, a Sangh outfit on Wednesday said it favoured the appointment of all “qualified” persons irrespective of caste as priests in all temples, including the famed Lord Ayyappa temple.

The Hindu Aikya Vedi, a state-based right-wing outfit, said anybody knowledgeable with regard to ‘pooja’ and ‘tantra’ as prescribed by the tradition, is eligible to enter the sanctum sanctorum of shrines and perform rituals, reports PTI. Aikya Vedi state general secretary E S Biju said the outfit is of the view that a person, who acquires knowledge in pooja and tantra, becomes a ‘brahmin’ through his deeds, though he is not so by his birth.

“There is no need to consider caste pedigree as a base to appoint priests in shrines.. The non-brahmins, who have prescribed qualifications, are eligible to enter the portals of sanctum sanctorum and perform pooja in any temple,” he told PTI.

“We are also of the view that anybody who has true faith in the Hindu religion and customs, and those ready to follow the prescribed ritualistic and other traditions of the respective shrines can enter any temple to offer worship,” he said.

His remarks come days after a non-brahmin priest came out against the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) alleging that he had been denied the chance to become the priest of Sabarimala Temple as only Brahmins could apply for the post.

After the recent appointment of 36 non-brahmins including six Dalits in various temples under TDB, the southern state is now witnessing a debate over a statement of ‘tantri’ (head priest) of Guruvayoor Temple in Thrissur favouring the entry of non-Hindus in the shrine.

Free Press Journal