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Stalin Govt’s Bid To Reclaim Temple Lands From Encroachers Stirs Hornet’s Nest

Ever since DMK galloped to power in Tamil Nadu, some of its policy decisions have shocked and shaken many established institutions. Let’s just take one such incendiary issue. The recent decision of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Ministry (HR & CE) headed by DMK MLA PK Sekhar Babu has stirred a hornet’s nest over reclamation of temple lands from “encroachments”.  When the minister announced that Kishkinta Amusement Park, one of the most popular mass attractions theme park and water world is built on 130-acre of temple land belonging to Pappachathiram Kasi Viswanathan temple, he might as well have bunged a Molotov cocktail at the park. This park conceived and promoted by producer-director MC Punnose (aka as Navodaya Appachan) in 1995, gained huge popularity for tourists across TN, and adjacent states. Sekhar Babu claims that his government is focussed on reclaiming all such properties built on temple lands. And till date, he says, they have already reclaimed Rs 900 crore worth of such temple real estate. The popular, 100-year old Mylapore Club has also been impacted as the HR & CE Ministry says it stands on Kapaleeswarar Temple land. Babu’s action has raised a fundamental question as to why only Hindu religious places and their properties are being singled-out. Is there any hidden commercial/ real estate agenda behind this reclamation move? Only time, many PILs hold the answers.