Kerala temple body issues fresh circular banning RSS activities on shrine premises
The Travancore Devaswom Board said all activities of the RSS and outfits with "extreme ideologies," without permission have been prohibited.
The Travancore Devaswom Board, the apex temple body which manages major shrines in Kerala's Travancore region, has issued a new circular banning the activities of the RSS on temple premises and its properties.
According to the circular issued by the Devaswom Commissioner, the 'namajapa protests' (protests by chanting mantras) have also been banned inside the premises of shrines managed by the temple body.
It said all the activities of the RSS and outfits with "extreme ideologies," without the permission of the TDB, have been prohibited.
The circular, dated October 20, directed the Devaswom Vigilance Wing to carry out surprise raids to find out whether the RSS or other outfits were running 'shakhas' (branches), mass drills, or arms training on temple properties.
It directed employees and priests of respective temples to inform the TDB management about the presence of such outfits and their operations, if any. Those who failed to inform the same would face disciplinary action, it said.
The circular also made it clear that photos, flags and flex boards of those who have no relation to the temples should not be kept on their premises.
Any failure to follow the directives would be treated as a violation of high court verdicts in this regard, it added.
Last month, the Kerala High Court had said that no mass drill or weapons training shall be permitted on the premises of Sarkara Devi Temple in Thiruvananthapuram district, which is under TDB's management.
The direction came while disposing of a plea filed by two devotees seeking an order to prevent "illegal use and unauthorised occupancy" of the temple premises by the RSS and its members.
In May this year also, the TDB had issued a circular asking officials to strictly follow its earlier order banning RSS 'shakhas' (branches) or mass drills at the shrines under it.
In a circular issued on May 18, the TDB said its 2021 order directing the officials to stop the sangh parivar organisation from using the temple properties for arms training, was not being implemented.
In 2016, the TDB had issued a circular banning all types of arms training on temple complexes by the RSS. Later, on March 30, 2021, the board reissued the circular, asking the officials to take action in this regard.
The then Devaswom Minister, Kadakampally Surendran, had alleged that the RSS was trying to turn temples into storehouses of arms in Kerala and that the government had been receiving a large number of complaints in this regard.