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Vishwa Hindu Parishad Welcomes Dalit Priests, With a Caveat

This is the first time six people from the Scheduled Castes have been recommended for appointment as priests in Kerala temples being managed by the TDB.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:October 9, 2017, 8:03 PM IST
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Vishwa Hindu Parishad Welcomes Dalit Priests, With a Caveat
Representative image. (DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)
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New Delhi: Appointment of Dalit priests in Kerala temples managed by Travancore Devaswom Board has been welcomed by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, but with a caveat.

“If the knowledge, life and lifestyle of the Dalit priests are in accordance with the traditions of temples and our shastras, only then we do not have a problem. It is a welcome move otherwise,” said Surendra Jain, International Joint General Secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

“There is no link between one’s birth and appointment as priest. Our history shows that Valmiki, Ravidas and Vaishya were priests. The larger issue is about the lifestyle and traditions that should align with the requirements of the temples and our shastras. Dalit priests should not be eating cow meat, all of this should be verified at the time of making them the priests,” Jain told News18.

This is the first time six people from the Scheduled Castes have been recommended for appointment as priests in Kerala temples being managed by the TDB. They are among the 36 non-Brahmins. There was a written examination, followed by interview on the lines of those conducted by the Public Service Commission (PSC) for the appointment of part-time priests. It is a merit-based appointment in Kerala.

“There are many states where cow meat is eaten. That can be tradition of the state but not of the temple. While working for the temples, we should respect the traditions. If we try to dilute the importance of temples’ requirements then there will be a reaction, which is going to dissolve our purpose and work of inclusion. Non-Muslims will not be allowed in masjids, similarly there are certain things that are not allowed in mandirs.”

He added, “There is also widespread assumption that if one is a Dalit, then he must be eating cow meat. That is not true. In fact, many Dalits are part of our cow protection movement.”
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat of the state Assemblies in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you put on the psephologist's hat. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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