TAMIL NADU, INDIA, November 18, 2023 (Organiser): Tamil Nadu’s state government informed the Madras High Court that they would live stream the opening of donation boxes at 48 temples. The State government announced its decision in wake of the public interest litigation pleas filed by Rangarajan Narasimhan, who brought attention to the theft of cash and gold ornaments from temple donation boxes. The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR and CE) department informed the court that the state had issued a circular instructing the identified temples to adhere to the provisions of the Installation, Safeguarding, and Accounting of Hundial Rules of 1975. This move aims to enhance transparency and accountability in the handling of temple donations, ensuring that the process is accessible to the public through online platforms.

These developments come against the backdrop of Prime Minister Modi’s recent remarks during a Telangana campaign, where he alleged that the Tamil Nadu state government has undue control over temples, accusing them of looting temple resources. The PM highlighted a purported conspiracy involving governments and emphasized the need to safeguard the autonomy of worship places. Under the successive rule of Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu, allegations of misappropriation of temple funds have surfaced, with viral videos on social media showcasing executive officers pocketing money, jewels, and diamonds. Such incidents have resulted in the filing of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) in the High Court. The misuse of temple funds for luxury items such as cars, office construction, and refreshments running into hundreds of thousands has been reported. Criminal misappropriation has led to poor maintenance, loss of rare statues, alienation of temple properties, and encroachments by influential figures.

More at source.