The appointment of two members of the Muslim community in the Jawalamukhi Temple trust has stirred controversy. BJP Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy has stepped into the controversy by questioning government control over temples.
The Jawalamukhi Temple is a prominent temple in Kangra district that is under government control. It is run by a trust that is headed by the Deputy Commissioner, Kangra. In 2017, two members of the minority community were appointed in temple trust along with others on contract. Their services were regularised later as per the policy of the state government.
In the recent past, some right wing Hindu organisations questioned the appointment of members of the minority community in the temple. The said employees were initially put on duty in the rest house of Jawalamukhi Temple trust in Jawalamukhi town. However, some members of the right wing Hindu organisations objected to their presence in the Jawalamukhi Temple complex. They were later shifted to Dharamsala.
Swamy today tweeted: “The Himachal Pradesh government appoints non-Hindus to administer Jawalamukhi temple — a Shakti Peeth. The HP government has completely taken over most of the temples. Babus and politicians run Hindu temples as their personal fiefdoms. The temple administration comes directly under the CM.” Swamy has also tagged Himachal CM Jai Ram Thakur in his tweet.
The tweet has stirred a controversy and brought the issue of Himachal temples under government control to national limelight. Hindu organisations have been opposing government takeover of temples since long. They have been alleging that most of the offerings in temples taken over by the government go into paying salaries of employees who are appointed on political considerations. There was hardly any money left for the development of temples for pilgrims.
In reply to Swamy’s tweet, Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Prajapati tweeted: “Both were appointed in 2017 by the previous government. People objected to their presence near the temple, even though they were posted in the temple rest house. So I transferred them 50 km away in the district headquarters to maintain communal harmony and law and order.”