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By Our Special Correspondent
Rajahmundry Aug. 7. The international working president of the VHP, Ashok Singhal, on Thursday advocated administration of temples by autonomous bodies and stressed the importance of people's participation.
In the name of better administration, State Governments, including AP Government, had been interfering with the temple administration. There was lot of corruption. Nearly 80 per cent of income was being spent on staff and maintenance. This should stop, Mr. Singhal said.
Speaking to newsmen here, Mr. Singhal, who came here to take dip in the Godavari on the occasion of Pushkarams, objected to the sale of temple lands and demanded immediate halt to acquisition of temple lands for any purpose. Lands already acquired should be restored to the deities of the temples. He said that temple administration in Andhra Pradesh was a legacy of colonial rule in the country. Previously, philanthropists donated hundreds of acres to temples. They were managed by local devotees and swamijis and there was no interference of kings.
He wanted a Bill on the lines of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat to be brought out in Andhra Pradesh to ban conversions. According to Mr. Singhal, conversion activities of Christians in Andhra Pradesh, especially along the coastal belt, was alarming.
Answering questions on Ayodhya, he said that the movement of VHP was not just for the temple in Ayodhya. It was aimed at achieving cultural freedom for the country. There was `aggression' of `Hindu culture' and the VHP would fight it out. Mr. Singhal said the issue of Ram Janmbahoomi was `locked up' in Parliament and it would be Parliament which should bring out a legislation for construction of temple in Ayodhya. If the Government failed to bring in such a legislation in the present monsoon session, the VHP would intensify its agitation. The mode and form of the agitation would be decided by sants and sadhus at a meeting to be held on September 13 and 14. He said that there was no deadline for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.
When asked if the VHP would accept a court verdict on Ayodhya issue, Mr. Singhal shot back `why does the Muslim Personal Law Board not accept the SC direction for a common civil code. What had happened in the Shah Banu case. Had not the judgement of SC been nullified? Mr. Singhal said that the VHP felt cheated by the NDA Government on the issue of Ayodhya.
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