Chief Minister M. K. Stalin on Sunday said taking care of temples, which belong to the public, is not new for the ruling Dravidar Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
Speaking after presiding over the marriages of 31 couples conducted by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department at the Marundheeswarar temple kalyana mandapam in Chennai, he said the government of his father and former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had performed the most number of temple kumbabishekams (consecrations), gave bicycles to temple priests and even took steps to repair and get the Tiruvarur temple car back in working condition.
He said that temples, at all times, were meant for the public, be it during the rule of kings or the people’s rule. But at one point of time, temples were considered private properties, which was why the HR&CE department was formed during the time of the Justice Party. In the last over one-and-a-half years, the department, led by Minister P. K. Sekarbabu, has performed exceptionally well, he said.
The department has started a number of colleges, retrieved temple properties worth ₹3700 crore, uploaded details of temple properties online, re-introduced archanai in Tamil in 47 major temples and taken steps to revamp temples.
Mr. Stalin said those persons who were unable to digest such accomplishments were spreading lies and using religion to do politics. “This government follows the path shown by Arignar Anna (C. N. Annadurai) and believes that God resides in the happiness of the poor and that is why today 217 poor couples have been married across the State,” he said. He urged the newly married couples to give Tamil names to their children and ensure equality in their homes.
Mr. Sekarbabu, Ministers Ma. Subramanian, T. M. Anbarasan and Senji Masthan, Members of Parliament T. R. Baalu and Thamizhachi Thangapandian, Secretary, HR&CE B. Chandra Mohan and Commissioner J. Kumaraguparan were among those who participated in the function.