MUMBAI: The Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS) has taken strong exception to Maharashtra government’s decision to provide financial aid to Muslims and Christians from the funds of the city’s most frequented Siddhivinayak Temple.
The HJS, a prominent Hindu organisation in the state, has acquired information through Right to Information Act (RTI) which states that the Siddhivinayak Temple Trust, run by a state government-appointed body, had spent money on the treatment of 548 Muslim and 82 Christian patients. HJS spokesperson Uday Dhuri said that the Trust money must be spend on treatment of Hindu patients alone since only Hindus offer donations at the temple.
“The government could be secular not the God,” said Dhuri, a medical doctor by training.
“Treating patients from other religions with the Hindus’ money is a breach of the Hindus’ trust. The government has no right to spend the money on anyone other than the Hindus. Has anyone heard of Muslim or Christian religious bodies assisting the Hindus?” he asked.
Dhuri demanded that the state’s BJP-Shiv Sena Government must amend the Shri Siddhivinayak Temple Act and make a provision that the trust money be used for the benefits of the Hindus alone. “There is a separate government department for welfare of the minorities. If the government desires to do something for them it should spend money from the funds reserved for the minorities. On one hand, the government talks about taking over the management of temples across the state and on the other hand it does not utter a word on 77,000 acres of land owned by the Wakf Board,” he said.
A R Anjaria, a member of the managing committee of Jama Masjid, Delhi, said that anyone should help others on the humanitarian grounds and not on the basis of his/her religion. “It is a prerogative of the trustees to decide whom the trust should help. I appreciate the Siddhivinayak Temple Trust for providing financial assistance to Muslims. Any religion gets recognition by the karm (act) of its followers. If they do good work, the religion is known as a good one,” he said. Anjaria said Muslim religious bodies also help non-Muslim patients to get treatment. “We should look at each other as a human being and not as a representative of a certain religion,” he said.