Pandharpur: Subramanian Swamy threatens to file PIL seeking withdrawal of state govt control over temples

Sanjay JogUpdated: Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 10:51 PM IST
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FILE PHOTO: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy |

The Shinde-Fadnavis government faces a huge challenge to pacify the former union minister Subramanian Swamy, the warkaris and the devotees on the contentious issue of the government control on Pandharpur temples. Swamy has already announced to file a PIL in Bombay High Court on October 7 seeking to withdraw the state takeover of the Pandharpur temple and the premises. Swamy has been consistently demanding to free the temple from the state government’s control as he is objected to control on spiritual activities, including poojas, and on the financial management.

Swamy, after the formation of Shinde-Fadnavis government, in a letter to the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde had demanded that the Pandharpur Temple Act 1973 passed by the Congress government should be repealed. "Although the act was passed in 1973, it came into force only in 2014. The effect of this Act has been to take the control of the famed Shri Vitthal-Rakhumai Temples away from the devotees and hand it to the government- in infringement of fundamental rights of the devotees,’’ he said, further adding, "It is regrettable to say that the temples have been heavily mismanaged since the takeover by the state government especially in terms of religious offerings and Ajman Pooja among other aspects. Temples rituals are not being followed as per Agam Shastra or as per the customs of the temples.’

"This has had an adverse effect on Hindu religious sentiments and their fundamental rights. As per the law laid down by the Supreme Court in various judgments, such an act passed by the government to take over Hindu temples for an indefinite period of time and to interfere with its religious activities is unconstitutional,’’ said Swamy.

A senior member of the Warkari community, who has voiced against the government control, said that the government should keep away from the financial management of the temples. "’The government may take control in the event of some irregularities but after the issue is addressed the government should not have its control over financial management,’’ he said.

A senior state government officer said that the issue would be discussed at the CM’s level to find a workable solution. He however, refused to divulge further details.

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