[GHHF] Thirumala Giri Lord Venkateshwara Temple land auction stopped by Locals with the Support of Sri Kamal Kumar Swami
July 12, 2010
The people most affected have to be organized and activated. Only a movement of direct action and protest is going to move those who make decisions to do the right thing. Terence Courtney
Great work requires great and persistent effort for a long time. Swami Vivekananda
Global Hindu Heritage Foundation and Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samiti have taken up the task of restoring the grandeur and glory of Sanatana Dharama. Devalayas (Abode of Gods) are the centers that have preserved, protected, imparted and promoted Hindu culture for centuries. Over thousands of years our forefathers have build thousands of Hindu Temples across Bharat and many other countries. Archeological departments and news paper reports reveal that many countries including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan and almost all the countries on the East side of India up to China have Hindu Temples. Many kings took pride in building huge Temples across the globe. All the Temple builders had so much foresight and vision in preserving the daily worship of pujas in all these Temples. As a result many of the donated hundreds and hundreds of acres of lands to these Temples so that worship services will be continued uninterrupted.
Over the years that the state governments in India have taken over these Temple on the pretext that the Hindus are not maintaining the Temple properly due to corruption and politics. All the Southern States have taken over all the Hindu Temples that earn at least 50,000 rupees neglecting the rest of the Temples. Many rich Temples like Siddhi Vinayaka Temple and Shiridi Saibaba Temple in Maharashtra, Puri Jagannath Temple in Orissa, Kasi Viswanath Temple in UP, Amarnath Temple, Vaishna Devi Temple and other Temples in North have been taken over by the respective government. Over the last six decades, thousands of Temple lands have been auctioned without ever consulting the local people. The reason they give for auctioning the lands was that the Temple lands are being encroached by people and the government is not able to stop.
Then the question is why did the government take over the Temple if they cannot stop the encroachment? How many politicians have encroached these lands or allowed their people to encroach so that can get these lands transferred to them? How can the governments say that they cannot stop encroachment in spite of all the power they have in their hands such as police force, army, security, legal system, etc.
Corrupt government officials, corrupt politicians, and corrupt legal system have been amassing wealth off these Hindu Temples. Temples are like Kamadhenu for these officials and politicians. They squeeze every penny from the Temples. No government will investigate corruption practices of the employees who live in filthy rich places. The Temple land, Temple Jewels, and Temple money are siphoned off. Most unethical, secular minded, atheists and non-Hindu personnel are in charge of the most sacred places on the planet earth. Hindus have to be made aware the potential depletion of Temple lands and eventual closing of many Hindu Temples in the near future. They have to get organized and demand the government to repeal the Endowment Act so that Hindus will have the freedom and liberty to manage their affairs.
Thirumala Giri Sri Venkateshwara Temple Lands near Jaggayya Peta in Krishna District, AP.
This is a remarkable example of the local temple goers, dedicated community leaders and determined leadership of Sri Kamal Kumar Swami working together to challenge the corrupt government and make them postpone the auction of 5.25 acres of Temple land. It is with persistence, determination, and without fear of intimidation, they were able to accomplish this. If we put our heart in to, we can accomplish the impossible. Our salutations to all those involved in great effort.
Sri Venkateshwara Temple is located in a place called Thirumala Giri near Jaggayya peta in Krishna District, AP. It is believed to have been in existence for centuries. The Temple is located on a sort of mountain. One has to climb about 300 – 350 feet. There are no staircases to climb the hill to have darshan of Lord Venkateshwara. As in olden days people climb using the small rocks as steps to reach the Temple.
It is believed that this Lord Venkateshwara is swayambhu who appears in Valmikodbhava form. He is born out of Ant hill. People believe Lord Venkateshwara is inside the anthill. Hence they all worship him in the form of anthill (Valmiki form). The government appoints the Board of Trustees for the Temple and it is supervised by Executive Officer. This Temple has 5.24 acres of land that was donated by devotees many, many years ago. Last week of June 2010 it was announced that the Endowment Department is planning sell that land by auctioning. The reason given to auction the land is the same as before for auctioning the lands of other Hindu Temple – government is not able to stop encroachment. As we all know that the government took over the Hindu Temples because according them that these Temple are not managed properly and that there is corruption. Local people were upset and they do not see the need for selling the lands. If the government is afraid of the encroachment, it could appoint a number of security personnel to guard the land. Instead the government wants to sell the land. If this scenario continues, all the lands belonging to Hindu Temples could be sold and deplete them in few years. They also believe that many cores of rupees changed the hands to influence the decision to sell off these lands.
Former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Thirumala Giri Sri Venkateshwara Temple, Sri Ghanta Hanumantha Rao has written a letter to Sri Gade Venkata Reddy, Minister for Endowments Department, with the following details requesting him to stop the auction the Temple lands:
“We came to know that 5.24 acres of land is being sold through public auction. There is no need to sell the land at this juncture. The Temple receives 19 lakhs through haircutting, 2 lakhs through coconuts, 4 lakhs through the auction of rice, 6 lakhs through renting the shop spaces, 35 lakhs through the sale of darshan and pooja tickets, and about 40 lakhs from HUNDI donations. The Temple average income is ONE crore rupees.
In addition to this income, Temple provide annadanam daily to all the devotees coming to have Sri Lord Venkateshwara darshan with the interest they earn from a fixed deposit of 25 lakhs donated by the devotees. Devotees from the districts of Nalgonda, Krishna, Guntur and Khammam visit the Temple because they believe their desires are fulfilled on a regular basis. In fact the farmers and business people have a custom of donating a certain percentage of their income as their desires are fulfilled. The land value is more than any body can imagine because it is close to National Highway, close to a college, and also located in from of Madras Cement Factory. It may increase as the years go by. Some time ago (about two years), in order to protect the Temple land we also constructed Compound Wall around 5.24 acre land. This land can be used to provide more facilities to the visiting pilgrims. Hence I am requesting you to stop the auction of the Temple land.” Signed by Ghanta Hanumantha Rao.
Sri Hanumantha rao went to Hyderabad and met the Endowment Minister on July 3, 2010, handed over the letter personally and requested him to stop the auctioning of the land. Basically the Minister said that is the policy of the government and refused to take any action. He also mentioned that as a Chairman of the Board of Trustees during the years 2006-2008 that he approved 50 lakh rupees to construct the path way to the Temple so that it would be easy for the pilgrims to climb the steps to reach the Temple. No action has been taken so far.
Sri Kamal Kumar Swami of Hindu Devalaya Parirakshana Samithi was informed of all these details and was requested to help stop the sale of the Temple land. He went to on July 7 to the area and joined hundred of local people and served as their spokesperson to stop the auction. Sri Kamal Kumar Swami told the government officials the government has no power to sell the lands. Sri Ghanta Hanumantha Rao addressed the people and requested the Regional Joint Commissioner Sri M. Raghuram, who was to conduct the auction, to stop the auction. The government also sent a significant number of police force to enforce the auction. With Sri Kamala Kumar Swami joining the movement local people were more enthusiastic in participating in the protest. Four lorry loads of people from nearby villages reached the site of the auction. Ex-sarpanch Sri. M Vijaysekhar, Sri Keesari Rambabu, Sri Manne Sreenivasa Rao, Sri Kaarupati Das, Sri Vasanth Rao, Sri Janardharn and many local leaders joined Sri Kamal Kumar Swami in demanding the government officials to stop the auction. Sri Swami said that should the lands donated years ago by the devotees to preserve the Temples. In fact efforts should be made to increase the property of the Temples instead of dwindling and depleting the property.
Finally, Sri M. Raghuram announced that for the time being the land auction is postponed. It is great pleasure to see that the Temple lands are preserved from the auction. Global Hindu Heritage Foundation talked to Sri M Raghuram, E O of the Temple, and officials at Endowment Commissioner’s office. Sri Hanumantha Rao was helpful in providing all the details. He is also planning to High court with the help of HDPS and GHHF. Salutations to all the local leaders, local devotees and Sri Kamal Kumar Swami for their unselfish, determined, and patriotic act. People most affected by the government action succeeded in stopping the auction through their persistent and great effort.
Different Local Newspapers published the event with the following headlines in local Telugu language. The titles of this story are as follows:
1) Thirumala Giri Venkanna’s Land auction postponed
2) Uproar over Land auction
3) Temple land Auction postponed
4) Temples are like Business Centers – Protest near Temple Land
5) Government should protect Temple lands
6) Sri Thirumala Giri Venkanna’s Land Auction Postponed
7) Tirumala Giri Land auction should not be conducted
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