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Persons of all castes to be appointed as temple priests in TN soon: Minister
The Tamil Nadu government has initiated the process to appoint persons of all castes (contrary to the hereditary Brahmin priests) as archakas (priests) for the temples in the State and steps will be taken to appoint those trained by the government during the previous DMK government, State Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department Minister P K Sekar Babu said on Wednesday.
Maintaining that the move will fulfill the dream of DMK stalwart and former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, who wanted people of all castes to become temple priests, the Minister said the candidates who are well versed in Agama Shastras and in reciting slokas, as well, and duly certified by the government will be appointed as archakas.
''Presently, the process of appointing people of all castes as archakas is on nearly a decade after our Kalaignar (late Karunanidhi) had ordered in 2010 that anyone can become temple priests. This is now materialising after overcoming legal hurdles,'' the Minister said responding to a question from reporters during his inspection at the Sri Ekambareswarar temple and Sri Kachaleswarar temple here, along with HR & CE Commissioner J Kumaragurubaran and other officials.
Although 207 persons were trained by the then government to make the appointment, a litigation had deferred the process. ''Now, with the decks cleared and our Chief Minister M K Stalin (son of Karunanidhi) guiding us, the HR & CE Department will pave way for appointing those already trained,'' he said.
Only two were appointed as priests by the (AIADMK) government, following the 2015 Supreme Court order. Five among 207 trained as priests passed away and of the remaining, only 175 are below 35 years of age, the minister explained.
''Yes, we will ensure all qualified and certified persons, including those privately trained, are appointed,'' Sekar Babu replied when asked if all those trained by the previous DMK government and awaiting appointment will be selected.
On another dream of Karunanidhi viz. replacing Sanskrit with Tamil language for performing Archana in the temples, the Minister said there was overwhelming response from the devotees to Tamil Archana in the ancient Sri Kapaleswarar temple here. The department has planned to expand this scheme to 47 temples initially, he said.