Congressional government acquires Mehandipur Balaji temple and VHP in protest
The government of Rajasthan has started the process of acquiring control of the Mehandipur Balaji Temple, one of the most revered Hanuman temples in the country, located in the Dausa district.
The deputy commissioner of Devasthan Vibhag (the government department for the regulation of temples, charities and religious trusts) recently issued a public notice in this regard.
On the other hand, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Dasnam Goswami Community (traditional guardians of Mehandipur Balaji) and panchas (chiefs) of 100 surrounding villages protested the move and warned the state government of massive unrest.
It was after the disappearance of Mahant Kishor Puri on August 8 that the Dasnam society elected Ganesh Naresh Puri Maharaj as mahant. While the process of enthronement of the successor to the seat of the mahant of the Mehandipur Balaji (Shri Hanumanji) temple was still in progress, the state government issued a takeover notice due to the “mismanagement” of the temple.
In this regard, stakeholders were invited to submit their suggestions, no later than August 17, for the constitution of a “management committee”. The Deputy Commissioner will forward these suggestions, along with his comments, to Commissioner Devasthan Vibhag. After that, the recommendations will be offered to the state government to decide what action to take.
This state interference in temple affairs has upset various factions associated with the temple. Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president Arun Chaturvedi, former minister Kalicharan Saraf and Golma Devi contacted Nareshpuri Maharaj and assured him that the BJP would fiercely oppose this decision by the government of the ‘State, reports Dainik Jagran.
Umashankar Sharma, central minister, called the arbitrary decision a big “conspiracy” by the state government. VHP’s Suresh Upadhyay said the parishad strongly believes that all temples in the country should be freed from government control and should be run by Hindu society alone. He added that the acquisition of Mehandipur Balaji would not be tolerated in any way, reports Zee News.
Dasnam Goswami Samaj officials claimed that representatives of the Goswami community were the damn of the Mehandipur Balaji temple for hundreds of years, and now the government is unnecessarily and illegally interfering in the affairs of the temple. Dasnam Samaj Chairman Babu Bharti has requested a meeting with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to discuss the matter, reports Navbharat Hours.
It should be noted that this is not the first case of a takeover of a Hindu temple by the government of Rajasthan. Earlier, in February 2017, the world’s most famous Brahma temple located in Pushkar, Ajmer, was acquired by the BJP government then headed by Vasundhara Raje on similar charges of diversion gifts from the faithful.
However, at the moment, it is questionable whether the state government can take over the management of the Mehandipur Balaji temple in accordance with the rules of the Devasthan Vibhag. Given the growing disapproval among Hindu organizations, it would not be as straightforward as it seems for the Congressional government to take over the management of the Mehandipur Balaji Temple.