BJP govt reverses Congress govt decision to take over Raghunath temple


    In a second Cabinet meeting convened by the BJP Government in Himachal Pradesh, reversed the Virbhadra Singh Government decision to take over Raghunath Temple of Sultanpur in district Kullu giving a major relief to Former legislator and scion of Earstwhile Kullu dynasty Mr Maheshwer Singh. In a press statement issued after the State Cabinet meeting led by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, the council of ministers gave the approval to exclude Raghunath temple, Sultanpur from Schedule-I of Hindu Public Religious Institution and Charitable Endowment Act, 1984.

    Last Virbhadra Singh Government on Sep 2 decided to form a trust of Raghunath temple led by the Deputy Commissioner Kullu. Mr Maheshwar Singh who also moved in the Himachal Pradesh High Court had also rejected the plea against the takeover of the temple. Maheshwar Singh pleaded before the court that he is ‘chharibardar’ (chief caretaker) of Lord Raghunath and it should not be taken over by the government management of Raghunath Temple at Sultanpur in Kullu.

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    The State Government had issued a notification regarding takeover of the temple on July 25, 2016. The then Kullu DC had given a one-week notice to Maheshwar Singh and his son Danvender, who is also the temple ‘kardar’, on July 27 to hand over all temple property to the authorities. However, Maheshwar, who is also a local MLA, moved the High Court against the takeover of the temple, claiming it to be his private property.

    Many residents had also opposed the takeover move. Some had opined that the safety and security of the temple would improve after its takeover by the government. Maheshwar Singh had also moved in the Supreme court against the state high court however with state cabient meeting he got major relief as BJP government decided to return the control of shrine under former legislators once again. It is worthwhile to mention that Mr. Maheshwar Singh merged Himahcal Pradesh Lok Hit party in BJP in 2015-16 and however Mr Maheshwar Singh lost election on the BJP ticket from Kullu in Nov 09 assembly election.

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    ML Verma is a Senior journalist, with more than a decade of experience of active reporting for electronic media, news agencies and fast paced online media.

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