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A messy temple affair

The Chhattarpur Temple raises Rs 500 crore as donations. The NHRC report indicates mismanagement in temple affairs. But the state administration is silent, reports Mayabhushan Nagvenkar

Consider this…

A cash-rich temple that has raised Rs 500 crore through donations.
In 2000, a report by an additional district magistrate points out alleged financial irregularities by the trust’s management.
A National Human Right’s Commission report indicates mismanagement in temple affairs.
Two mlas write to Chief Minister Sheila Dixit and the police commissioner urging them to probe the allegations of mismanagement of funds.
Some 170 temple sewadars complain to the police claiming criminal intimidation by musclemen, who they reckon, are allegedly hired by the temple management, after the sewadars complain against the alleged financial mismanagement.
And how does the Delhi state administration react to such serious charges?

Apart from the crowds, which throng the Chhattarpur temple in Mehrauli, in New Delhi, the other barometer of its popularity, splendour and significance is the 5-crore that the temple pockets as its annual income.

After the death of its founder Sant Baba Nagpal in 1998, it seemed that not all was well in the city’s popular spiritual abode. Infighting and bickering took root between two factions — the present chairman of the Shree Adya Katyayani Shaktipeeth Trust
AL Batra on the one hand and KK Sandhir and NK Bindra, trustees in the Shree Adya Katyayani Shaktipeeth (mandir) Trust (sakst) on the other.

What, however, seems surprising is the state administration’s silence in the face of the messy affair. Official documentation helps trace the roots of this inexplicable attitude that can be traced right back to 2000.

The National Human Right’s Commission (NHRC) wrote to the Delhi administration strongly hinting at the “mismanagement in the whole temple affairs” and urged the latter to opine about “desirability of the government’s intervention into the affairs of the temple”.
The government conveyed to the Commission that an enquiry had been conducted and the affairs of the temple management “did not warrant the intervention of the government”. The Commission then wrote back asking them to place before it, the enquiry report, on the basis of which the government had taken this view.

“The fact of the matter is that no detailed enquiry as such has been conducted,” claims a report submitted by then additional magistrate (South district) SB Shashank to the state government. This highlights the lethargic and casual manner in which the government had reacted to a responsible query posed by NHRC.

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