Tamil Nadu Finance Minister and DMK leader P.T.R. Palanivel Thiagarajan has dismissed as “nonsense” the demand from Isha Yoga Centre founder Jaggi Vasudev, for freeing temples from the government’s Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department.
“Jaggi is a publicity hound and charlatan who is trying to find another angle to make more money,” minister told The Hindu in a recent interview.
“Will a godman, who is focused on god, be selling Sivarathiri tickets for ₹5,00,000, ₹50,000 and ₹5,000? Is that a sign of a man of god? Is that the identifying mark of a spiritual man? He is a commercial operator pretending to use god and religion to get help,” Thiagarajan continued.
Three weeks ago Jaggi Vasudev, the Founder of Isha Foundation, has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to conduct external audit of temples in Tamil Nadu. He also sought the constitution of a commission to examine devolution of shrines to the community.
In September last year, Jaggi Vasudev had started the hashtag “Free TN temples” through his Twitter handle in which he stressed on the need to reverse the ‘rate of decay in our temples’. When the BJP released its manifesto for Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, the party promised to hand over the administration of Hindu temples to a separate board consisting of Hindu scholars and saints.
The DMK politician and newly appointed minister rejected the Vasudev’s suggestion, contending that the temples were built by emperors and kings.
“Who do they belong to? You say give it to the bhaktas. Forget whether it is right or wrong. Which bhakta will I give it to?” he asked.
Thiagarajan also told The Hindu that HR&CE Minister P.K. Sekar Babu had announced that he would investigate what was going on at the Isha Yoga Centre in Coimbatore.
“He will investigate whether there are violations or issues. There are some serious issues he is seeing in the CAG report. He will look into them,” he said.