Karnataka government has ordered that the funds of the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions And Charitable Endowments (HRCE) Department also known as Muzrai department be no longer used to fund any non-Hindu religious institutions.
In response to the recent outrage by various Hindu groups and leaders against the distribution of ‘tastik’ money from the HRCE to priests and staff of other religious institutions, Minister for Muzrai Kota Srinivas Poojary directed that all such acts of financial support from the department be halted with immediate effect.
In a media address, as per a release, Poojary said that “until our government came to power, ‘tastik’ amount meant for temples was also being provided to other religious institutions. Upon receiving this information we have directed that all utilization of funds for non-Hindu purposes be stopped immediately,”.
He said instructions will be issued for other religious institutions that need funds to avail the same under their respective departments.
In a statement, the HRCE Commissioner informed that a total of Rs 133 crore is spent annually on ‘tastik’ distribution which covers around 27,000 Hindu temples in the state. But among the recipients of the ‘tastik’ are 764 other non-Hindu religious institutions, and an order shall be issued to stop the same with immediate notice as instructed by the Minister.
Hindu organizations had recently opposed the distribution of Covid compensation to imams of mosques from the funds of the HRCE department. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had recently announced a relief package of Rs 500 crore which involved a one-time compensation to ‘archakas’ and staff of C-grade temples as well as Imams and muezzins of mosques.
While the compensation to priests was welcomed, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad earlier today opposed the government’s move to sanction a compensation from the funds of the HRCE to mosques. VHP leaders who met Poojary earlier today had condemned this decision of the government.
In its appeal to Poojary, VHP said it “opposes the decision of the government to provide Covid pandemic relief to the imams of 41 mosques and madrasas of the district from the funds of Hindu Religious Endowment,”.
Seeking that the government withdraw its orders immediately it emphasized the funds from ‘daivasthanas and temples’ should only be used for the Hindu community. “It should not be used for mosques and madrasas. We condemn this decision of the state BJP government,” said the appeal further. Poojary who received the appeal had assured to withdraw the decision.
The Muzrai department had earlier distributed food kits worth Rs 1,500 each to all archakas of C-grade temples in May this year. In response to a petition from priests fo these temples, Poojary had ordered the same which was said to benefit around 50,000 priests and staff of temples that have been functioning without devotees since the lockdown.