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Tricky time ahead for government over Gokarna temple takeover

Published On : 06 Oct 2016   |  Reported By : Courtesy : DHNS   |  Pic On: Photo credit : DHNS

Bengaluru, DHNS: RVD for status quo amid plaints against Mutt on shrine upkeep. It is going to be a tricky time for the government while deciding on whether the Gokarna Mahabaleshwara temple in Uttara Kannada district should be taken back into the custody of the religious and charitable endowment department.

Presently, it is being managed by the Ramachandrapura Mutt. The government denotified the temple in 2008, when the BJP was in power. The decision of the government has been questioned in the High Court.

No less than half-a-dozen petitions are filed in the High Court, questioning the notification to remove the ancient temple from the jurisdiction of the Muzrai section of the endowment department.

The division bench of the court, which is hearing the matter, has asked the government to submit its views. The case is coming up for hearing on November 11.
Sources in the secretariat said a final decision would have to be taken by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. As the matter is sensitive in nature, the government may buy time to take a call. It has received complaints regarding the upkeep of the temple, it is said.

Unaware of earnings
If sources in the endowment department are to be believed, the revenue of the temple is not less than Rs 10 crore a year. However, as the temple is in the custody of the Mutt, the government is unaware of the earnings in recent years.

When contacted by DH to find the take of his department in getting back the custody of the temple, Minister of State for Muzrai Rudrappa Lamani said so far, no decision has been taken.

“I have heard many people expressing their views in this regard. I will visit the temple to find out how it is being managed. I am planning to interact with people to get their views. Later, I will hold a meeting with the law minister, the advocate general and officials to decide on the matter. I must equip myself to legally handle it,” he said.

In a letter to Siddaramaiah on Tuesday, Major Industries Minister R V Deshpande had said that the government should not take over the temple. The temple is run by the Mutt well. It is conducting many religious activities which are appreciated by the devotees, he has argued.

Bhatkal MLA Mankala Vaidya has also opposed any change in the administration of the temple.

As soon as the Siddaramaiah government came to power, the government had announced that it was under pressure to take the custody of the Gokarna temple and Krishna temple in Udupi.

The Ashta Mutts (eight mutts) are managing the Krishna temple. However, the government did not pursue the issue as there was stiff opposition from the BJP, among others.

When Prakash Hukkeri was the Muzrai minister in 2013, he had told the Assembly that the government had no proposal before it to take over the Gokarna temple and the Krishna temple and that they had been denotified as per law.

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