In a recent development as a part of the DMK government’s attempts to rob temple wealth, HRCE has approved a project to build a fish market near a temple using funds loaned from temples. After the document granting approval went viral in social media, BJP and Hindu organisations condemned this move questioning why the government needs temple wealth for a secular project.
The DMK government has been repeatedly grabbing temple wealth through different “schemes” since the moment it came to power. It planned to melt temple jewelleries and deposit it under the gold monetisation scheme. But Hindu organisations and activists opposed it and obtained an interim stay against it from court for the time being. Later it opened colleges which were part of the party’s poll promises using temple money on temple lands on the pretext of setting up a source of revenue.
It is to be noted that the court had clearly said that temple properties cannot be alienated for non-religious purposes. Yet the DMK government went ahead and inaugurated 4 Arts and Science colleges one in CM MK Stalin’s constituency and another in his sister Kanimozhi’s constituency. However the court restrained the government from building new colleges and insisted that courses on religious streams should be taught in the already opened colleges. The issue is subjudice.
Now, we come to know through a document doing rounds in social media that the HRCE department has approved a project to build a fish market “near a temple” using money “loaned from 3 temples”. The document reads, “The proposals to do the following work in Arulmigu Kandaswamy and Adi Mottai Amman temple have been given administerial and assessment approval under the HRCE Act, 1959 after due consideration”.
The table in the document says, “project to demolish the old fish market and build a new one near Chennai Chrompet Arulmigu Kandaswamy and Adi Mottai Amman temple in survey numbers 2528 and 2529”. Estimation for the project is Rs.1.55 crore who is to be procured from Subramanya Swamy temple in Tiruttani, Devi Karumari Amman temple in Thiruverkadu and Kamakshi Amman, Vaikunda Perumal temples in Mangadu as loan.
It also says that the decision to build a new fish market using temple money was announced in the assembly after which the estimation was given approval by the HRCE Commissioner. The decision has shocked Hindus as the government is not only building a fish market near the premises of a temple but getting “loan” from 3 temples which in all probability will never be returned.
Fish is a staple food of many including Hindus especially in coastal regions. Yet Hindus in general, even if they are non-vegetarians, would not visit a temple where animal sacrifice isn’t performed or Agamic temples after eating non-vegetarian food. But the DMK government has the audacity to build a fish market, the waste coming from which would desecrate the temple. BJP has opposed this move and TNBJP President K.Annamalai condemned the move questioning if it is the government’s or temples’ responsibility to build a fish market which benefits all sections of the society. He also questioned the motive behind using a temple property as a fish market and seeking funds from other temples.
Saying that HRCE has no right to build a fish market, he said the money donated by Hindu devotees for religious purposes cannot be used for such projects. He also wondered whether the HRCE board works especially to hurt Hindu sentiments. The DMK government hasn’t answered the queries yet but has launched a smear campaign against Annamalai through their “faithful” media and social media influencers. They spread canards by twisting his statements saying “Annamalai says those who eat fish are not Hindus”.
DMK may win the social media war, but the courts which didn’t approve building collectorate and colleges, aren’t going to let them win the legal war against this sacrilegious move. For in 2020, the Madras High Court had ruled against the Fisheries Department’s move to construct a fish market and fish eatery lands belonging to Sakthi Muthamman temple in Neelankarai, Chennai.