Sabarimala issue: No-donation campaign hits Devaswom Boards hard
A call not to offer money to temples was first made by former TDB president Prayar Gopalakrishnan.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) is feeling the heat of devotees’ ire after it decided not to file a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict in the Sabarimala case.
Highly-placed sources in the TDB told Express that the revenue in temples has fallen by around 40 per cent after the TDB’s decision. Other Devaswom Boards in the state too are devising strategies to counter the campaign to avoid monetary offerings to temples.
A call not to offer money to temples was first made by former TDB president Prayar Gopalakrishnan. He is in the forefront of the devotees’ protests against allowing women in the 10-50 age group to the shrine.
Instead of money, Prayar exhorted devotees to deposit paper pieces with the writing “Swami Saranam” in the offering boxes. Prayar told Express that his request was a peaceful mode of protest against the TDB stand.
TDB officials said in several temples offering boxes were jammed with paper pieces. “It is almost sure that the revenue at Sabarimala would see a drop owing to the protests. The campaign has affected revenue at other temples as well,” they said.
Cochin Devaswom Board president M K Sudarsan said the current false campaign was a continuation of the Sangh Pariwar’s malicious propaganda to defame the Devaswom Boards. “Devotees have fallen in their trap in some places like the Mayannoor temple where offering boxes were filled with paper scripts,” he said.
Sudarsan said the Board has started awareness programmes to counter the false campaigns. “Already, the Devaswom Boards are dependent on government grant to bridge the revenue expenditure gap. Such campaigns would put the life of over 3,000 staff under the CDB at stake,” he said.
The “no-donation” campaign, if succeeds, would be the fourth setback to the Malabar Devaswom Board in a row. The Board is struggling hard to increase its revenue which was hit by the demonetisation, Nipah and floods, said MDB president O K Vasu.
“We will not allow the campaign to gain momentum. I will lead the campaign against the Sangh Parivar-backed move to decrease the Board’s revenue,” he said.The Nipah scare and the recent floods severely affected the revenue of MDB temples, Vasu said. “There was a drop of five lakh muttaravu vazhipadu (an offering) at the Kadampuzha temple alone,” he added.