Uttarakhand relief operation
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) appealed to different temple bodies of the country to spend the temple funds for reconstruction of villages and rehabilitation of people in Uttarakhand. In a statement issued from Mumbai on June 29, VHP working president (external) Shri Ashok V Chowgule made this appeal.
“The VHP strongly suggests that the funds of the temples under government control all over the country should be used for renovating and rebuilding the religio-cultural, spiritual, educational and charitable institutions in affected areas of Uttarakhand. Since many of those going to these temples will also be undertaking the Himalayan Char Dham Yatra, the Hindus will appreciate the use of the funds in this manner. Even as a matter of general policy, the big and affluent temples should patronise the smaller ones existing in their catchment areas in particular and anywhere else in general. Due to the inappropriate policies of the present Government of India, the country’s treasury has been seriously depleted. The use of temple funds for the said purpose will ensure that the reconstruction activity will not be held back under the pretext of lack of funds,” the statement said.
He further said, over the last couple of decades, in line with a resurgent Hinduism, the number of yatris is increasing by a substantial quantity. In line with this trend, the amount of donations is increasing at an even more rapid pace. “Unfortunately, these donations are often improperly used to fund activities which do very little for propagating Hindu Dharma or help the poor and needy Hindus. As in the case of Siddhi Vinayak Mandir in Mumbai, the funds have been used by politicians to fund ostensible charity activities but are actually meant for their own political purposes. Temples are religio-spiritual institutions, but the tragedy is that thousands of them and their huge Devottar properties are now under the control of ‘secular’ Governments, which is a conspiracy and crime being perpetrated against Hindu Dharma as they have been siphoning its funds for non-Hindu and even in many cases anti-Hindu purposes. And, therefore, their control should be handed over to the Hindu society,” the statement said.
He said apart from the substantial loss of life and property in Uttarakhand, there has been destruction of the infrastructure that had helped the Hindus to make the annual yatra. The Government needs to rebuild this infrastructure of transportation, board and lodging, medical facilities, schools and colleges for the native students, etc., very quickly in order to make the pilgrim traffic and the life of the natives smooth in the circuit. Also, the reconstruction should be done in a way that will reduce the possibility of similar destruction in any possible future calamity. Here it must also be kept in mind that the said circuit is meant for pilgrimage which the people have been conducting here for thousands of years and, therefore, any promotion of tourism, greed and plunder under the guise of ‘development’ here would put unacceptable pressure on the eco-sensitivity of the zone and the recent flash floods exposed the ill-advised and lopsided agenda of the governments for the region. —Bureau Report
Two tales of the same tragedy
“The State Government was working not only to assist the disaster affected people but also attempting to facilitate development in the affected areas. The central government was providing every kind of help. The State Government has been sending ration in the affected villages. Government has formed disaster management panel providing adequate food, medical care, disposal of bodies in affected areas and transportation of relief material are uphill task but the Government is doing it at any cost.”
Uttarakhand Chief Minister
“The State Government continues to ignore the woes being faced by the local people devastated by heavy rains, flood and landslides. I sat on protest at the Secretariat to demand effective measures in Kedarnath constituency and would do so again and even resign if necessary measures are not taken as assured by the CM. Though the stranded tourists have been evacuated, the Government initially ignored the locals.”
— Shaila Rani Rawat,
Congress MLA from Kedarnath