The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages temples in Kerala, has issued a circular instructing officials to strictly prohibit mass drills and other activities organized by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) within temple premises. The circular emphasizes that the order should be followed without fail, and any officers who fail to comply will face action.
Background and Objective of the Circular
The circular was reissued by the TDB to ensure that the operation of RSS ‘shakhas’ (branches) inside temple premises is not allowed. It aims to uphold the sanctity of temple premises and maintain their exclusive use for religious rituals and festivals. The TDB had previously issued an order on March 30, stating that temple premises should not be used for any purpose other than rituals and festivals.
Congress Supports the TDB Circular, Accuses RSS of Spreading Hatred
Congress has welcomed the TDB circular and expressed support for its decision. VD Satheesan, the Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Assembly and a Congress leader, stated that the circular is necessary to prevent the RSS from spreading hatred and creating divisions among the people. He emphasized that the temple is a sacred institution and should not be used for activities that go against its purpose.
Ensuring the Common Property of Believers
The circular emphasizes that all types of drills and practices, specifically those organized by the RSS, should be prevented within temple premises. It highlights that the temple is the common property of believers, and approximately 90% of Hindus in Kerala are against the RSS and its activities. In 2016, the TDB had previously issued a circular banning all types of arms training by the RSS within temple complexes.
The TDB’s circular serves to reinforce the previous ban and ensure that RSS drills and activities are not conducted inside temple premises, protecting the sanctity and religious significance of these places of worship.
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