STHIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Close on the heels of the UDF promising to bring in a legislation to protect the customs of the Sabarimala hill shrine if voted to power, the BJP is planning to propose a law regarding the administration of the state’s temples — including Sabarimala — in its election manifesto.
Besides the promise of freeing the administration of Sabarimala from political interference, the saffron party is likely to include a slew of other legislations such as prevention of religious conversion through marriage, appointments of last grade servants and reclamation of temple assets.
“The party has already indicated it would introduce an Uttar Pradesh-model law to prevent conversion under the guise of marriage,” sources said, adding the party might hold discussions with Church leaders in this regard.
“There are plans to bring in an ordinance mandating that all last grade appointments to government, quasi-government bodies, public sector units and universities under the PSC should be made from the existing rank list. As the last grade comprises unskilled workers, appointments can be made from this list,” said K S Radhakrishnan, convener of the manifesto committee. Another legislation on reclaiming the movable and immovable properties of the state’s temples is also on the cards.
‘All customs at Sabarimala shrine will be protected’
The law is likely to propose administration in line with that of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. According to sources, the plan is to propose a restructuring of the administration of all temples so as to ensure that devotees get an upper hand. In the case of Sabarimala, the temple thantri, the Pandalam royal family and Hindu outfits will be given administrative powers. “Not just with respect to women’s entry, but all customs at Sabarimala shrine would be protected. The legislation would be framed on those lines,” said a source.
“Administration of temples should be entrusted with devotees who follow its customs and rituals. This is applicable not only for Sabarimala, but for all temples,” Radhakrishnan said. Further, suggestions have come up to frame rules to fix a minimum qualification for PSC members, sources said. It will also make a mention of conditions relating to their services and wages.
The manifesto is being prepared by a panel with senior leader Kummanam Rajasekharan as chairman. Proposals and suggestions received from experts on various fields such as agriculture, fisheries and other sectors will be incorporated in the manifesto. The committee will meet on February 27 for detailed discussions.