Dravidianists have demanded that non-Hindus should also be appointed in the colleges established by HRCE on temple lands using temple wealth. The demand comes after notifications were issued for posts in the new colleges inviting applications from “only Hindus”.
The DMK government had announced that 10 new Arts and Science colleges will be established on temple lands to utilise them in a better way and generate a stable income for the temples. The government has planned to conduct the classes in rented buildings for the time being till colleges are constructed on temple lands. HRCE department had called for candidates to apply for the teaching and non-teaching staff positions. Teachers associations and Dravidianists have opposed it saying it is “against the constitution to deny opportunities on the basis of religion”.
As per the rules of Hindu Religious and Endowment Board Act, 1959 the notification mandated that “only Hindus” can apply for the posts. Dravidianists have opposed this saying there should be no discrimination in a government run college forgetting the fact that HRCE can only ‘administer’ the temple affairs. Establishing colleges using temple land and wealth itself is anti-constitutional as it violates mamy rules of the HRCE Act. Temple activists had sent notice regarding the same.
While this has been the case, Dravidar Kazhagam’s chief K.Veeramani issued a statement saying “It is a government college. HRCE is a government department. It is not for appointing pujaris in temples. It is a government job, in the college, to teach ‘everyone’“. However Section 6(5) of the HRCE Act says that “all property given or endowed for the benefit of, or use of the right by, the Hindu, for support or maintenance of objects of utility to the community members”. Temple wealth can be used only for the betterment of Hindus.
If anything is unconstitutional it is Dravidianists’ demand that non-Hindus should be admitted and appointed in the colleges established on temple lands using temple funds. While Veeramani’s statement makes it look like non-Hindus weren’t appointed in the colleges established with temple funds in the past, it has come to notice through The Hindu report that HRCE had invited applications from everyone for posts in the college run by Palani Balathandayuthapani temple.
Retired judge of the Madras HC, Justice Chandru, a well-known Dravidianist, has suggested that ‘the government could use the exemption under Article 16(5) of the Constitution because the appointment of teachers and other staff in the college was not connected to religious activities’. He had ruled in favor of appointing a Muslim as the curator in the Department of Archeology. He had said that “It is not as if the post of an Epigraphist or an Archaeologist must work inside a Hindu temple“. He and Veeramani have applied the same logic to HRCE run colleges as well. However his judgement in favor of the Muslim curator was set aside by another bench.
The Hindu report made another revelation that the security guard contract for Tiruchendur Subramanya swamy temple was given to a Christian company. Justice Chandru had heard the company’s petition against the termination of the contract on religious grounds and ruled in its favor. Citing these Dravidianists have been saying that the schools and colleges run by HRCE are “not connected to the temples or their activities” and so non-Hindus should be employed in such institutions.
Apart from the illegality, there are many adverse effects of appointing non-Hindus in such institutions. Hindu religious texts have been proposed to be taught in these institutions. However there are many instances where non-Hindus and so-called atheists have ridiculed and denigrated Hindu way of life and beliefs. Abrahamic teachers have harassed Hindu students for exhibiting religious symbols many times. Recently a Christian government-aided school teacher had physically and mentally harassed Hindu students for wearing the sacred ash and rudraksh. Another government-aided Christian school had suspended Hindu students for wearing sacred ash.
Hindu girls have been harassed for wearing mehandi, flowers and kalawa. A Christian teacher in a catholic school in Maharashtra insulted Hindu deities in the worst possible manner. Long before the cracker ban was imposed a Christian school in Trichy, Tamil Nadu had punished Hindu students for bursting crackers. There have also been many instances of Christian and Muslim teachers working in government schools preaching their religious beliefs and proselytizing students. With non-Hindus being appointed in HRCE run colleges, the possibility of such instances happening there only increases.